Miracle: A great performance by the DHTC


On Thursday, December 5, the Dartmouth High Theater Company geared up for opening night of their production of Miracle on 34th Street.

The play starred senior Sabrina Guilbeault as Doris Walker, a workaholic single mother raising her daughter, Susan, played by eleven year-old Taylor Olympio, not to believe in unrealistic things such as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. Senior Nicholas Richards, a newcomer to the theater company, played Fred, the Walkers’ friendly neighbor who does not agree that Susan should suppress her imagination.

Olympio said, “I think the role of Susan fits me pretty well because she has that ‘I don’t care about anything sort of attitude’ and I have that too.”

She continued to explain her excitement for the show saying, “I never expected that I’d get such a magnificent role as Susan.”

Senior Drew Kelly played Kris Kringle, a man who claims to be Santa Claus and, in turn, stirs up the lives of the Walkers after meeting Susan. As Susan begins to believe in this Santa Claus, Kris must convince the rest of the city that he truly is Father Christmas.

As a first-timer, Richards was unsure what to expect of the end product, and had to work to control his nerves throughout the show. Before the second showing began, he said, “Yesterday I was nervous but now I’m not so much. I am more focused on the actions I need to do and remember my lines rather than fear the crowd.”

Another newcomer was senior Jacob Pereira, who played the role of the judge whose ruling that Kringle is in fact the real Santa Claus ends the play, said, “It was my first acting job, and I found that it really suited me. I plan on trying out for the next play as well.”

The actors fit comfortably into their roles, and as a result, the play was believable and captivating. Kelly’s ability to transform his mannerisms into ones that would better fit the character of a jolly old man was remarkable (he was even able to switch naturally from English to Dutch).

In regards to acting as the Santa Claus, Kelly said, “It’s a really historic figure that I love playing, but I am just hoping that I don’t mess it up.”

Senior Zane Furtado, a member of the stage crew said, “I was a little nervous at first because of how tech week was going, but luckily we worked out the flaws.”

As a member of the crew, Furtado moves sets on and off between scenes and makes certain that everything runs smoothly backstage. He continued to say, “We’ve got a good group of kids here and even though I make fun of them a lot, we pulled it together very well.”

This was the DHTC’s fifth play under the direction of Director Denis Lawrence Jr. and Assistant Director Shirley Guerreiro. Mr. Lawrence and Ms. Guerreiro have directed other plays for the theater company such as The Odd Couple and Seussical.

The play totaled about two hours, and the set changes were successful in keeping the audience engaged. They varied from the New York City skyline to Macy’s department store to a restaurant to a courtroom to a hospital and to the Walkers’ tiny apartment.

Between each major scene change, a cast of roughly 42 children of ages ranging from five to thirteen appeared on stage to entertain the audience with Christmas carols such as the classic “Jingle Bells” to the more complicated “Walking in a Winter Wonderland.” This technique was new for the DHTC, but in fact, suited the play perfectly.

Lawrence said, “After putting the word out to the middle and elementary schools of Dartmouth, we held open auditions back in September. Forty-two children showed up and we used all 42.”

He continued to explain that the high school audition process was much more typical. He said, “We had a fantastic cast of 22 high-schoolers. It was a pleasure to work with each and every one of them.”

Not surprisingly, with a cast of 64 people, it can sometimes be difficult to keep everything running smoothly and everyone on task. Guerreiro said, “It has been a little difficult because of how large the cast is. It really is huge, but to put everyone together and finally start running the show has been fantastic.”

The DHTC has outdone themselves on this fall’s production. A perfect entry into the holiday season, the show was not only fun and entertaining to watch, but it kept all viewers on their seats waiting to discover what would surprise them next (such as the two kissing scenes). You missed out if you didn’t go to see it.

The next production that DHS can expect from the theatre company will mark the beginning of their competition season. On Tuesday, December 17, at 6:00 p.m. auditions will be held for this year’s competition piece, Mary Jane of White-Chapel.  All actors and tech crew, both old and new, are welcomed to get involved.

This spring DHTC will be performing the musical Legally Blonde. Auditions will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the DHS auditorium on January 9. It can be expected that this show will be just as much a hit as A Miracle on 34th Street.