This Is A Test by Durant Theatre Company

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Durant Theatre Company

The playback of the production “This Is a Test”

Allie Sigl, Design Editor

The dread and trepidations of test-taking are not one to be taken lightly, and the ability to accurately portray those feelings is commendable. Stephen Gregg’s one-act play, “This is a Test,” performed by Durant’s Theatre Company, illustrates the feelings of test anxiety close to the original.

The play starts with the main character, Ally, played by senior Lisiane DaCosta, talking to her friend Lois, played by Carissa Rodriguez, in the hallway about the upcoming test.

“I was really shocked and excited once I found out [I got the lead role], but I was also very nervous because I have never really ‘acted’ before,” DaCosta said.

Despite never acting, DaCosta had an outstanding performance throughout the play. Once her character, Ally, begins to take the test, she quickly realizes she does not remember anything from when she “studied” the night before – a feeling that might be familiar to the audience.

The play continues as Ally’s peers around her begin to cheat in obvious ways (flags, airplanes, posters, Morse code), unbeknownst to their teacher, played by Jackson Hamilton.

Hamilton is often seen with a baguette in hand as he berates Ally for not knowing any of the questions. He has several memorable one-liners throughout the production as he continually reminds the students of the tests’ gravity.

One of the most notable parts of the play is the Greek chorus inside Ally’s head, played by Natalie Doucette, Madison Tolley, and Bailey Zapata, which depicts her anxiety throughout the test.

“The Voice” inside Ally’s head is played by Josh Faircloth and is often heard reading the test’s questions.

The production continues as Ally attempts to make her way through the test, skipping all the questions she does not know; spoiler, it is all of them.

Because of Coronavirus restrictions, the Theater Company could not perform their play in front of a live audience. In place of this, Stephen Arment, the director, decided to produce Durant’s first recorded production.

Arment’s ability to record the play gave the cast more creative freedom, allowing the ability to add different camera angles, settings, and, of course, bloopers, which were seen in the end credits of the production.

The various camera angles helped portray the story as it allowed audiences to better grasp the cast’s emotions and actions throughout the play.

“The experience was very different in a good way and some in a blah way,” DaCosta said. “We did not get to do a live production, and at times, we would kind of lack motivation. In a way we were working for something but not like last year knowing we had this huge pressure of people watching.”

Despite these feelings, recording the production allowed the company to focus on the minor details and make sure everything was perfect, which was seen in the show’s final product.

“If we wanted something in particular for the audience to notice, [or] if anyone forgot a line, we could stop and go back and do it again. It gave us room to be detailed and creative,” DaCosta said.

Durant Theatre Company’s next production will be in spring. While many hope they will be back to a live audience, the future of the events are still being decided.