Members of the Glenrock High School Theater Troupe 1092 put on a suspenseful, violent and psychologically taut performance on the evening of Nov. 18, at times making audience members squirm in their seats.
In the group’s first production of the school year, they put on two performances of “The Experiment,” a one-act play written by Brent Holland, in the band room of the intermediate school.
The play is a thriller about five research subjects who wake up in a clinic with no memory of how they got there, with each person wearing a shirt that has a personality descriptor written on it, like “devious,” “courageous” or “impulsive.”
Dr. Soles, the sadistic lead investigator, informs them that researchers are studying whether the subjects will behave in line with the words on their shirts while under duress, and if their behavior is learned, or rooted in genetics.
Also, the experiment consists of several stages, she told the confused subjects, and at the end of each stage, someone will die.
Immediately the test subjects start questioning each other, and whether the words on their shirts really do capture their true selves.
“I’m ‘impulsive.’ Well I don’t feel impulsive,” said the character identified only by the word, played by Sage Preston.
As the story progressed, the test subjects are coerced through the threat of electric shocks into reciting and acting out the words written on their shirts, killing each other until only “Devious,” played by Savanna Mitchell, is left standing at the end.
Prior to the show, audience members were alerted to the fact that the play contained murder, suicide, flashing lights, P.T.S.D., loud noises, blood and violence.
The Glenrock thespians, for their part, enthusiastically embraced their characters and the story. They writhed on the floor of the band room as they received electric shocks, hurled chairs across the room in anger, and yelled at each other as they argued about their assigned personalities and how they could escape the experiment, if at all.
Following the play, director Debra Rademacher called the students’ performance outstanding.
“Their hard work really came through,” she said, adding, “Not only did they have to do the usual blocking and acting for this play, they also had to learn to choreograph fighting and to work with blood packets.”