LHS Stageplayers performs “The Rose Tattoo” for the junior/senior play

From Feb. 10-11, the LHS Stageplayers put on their production of Tennessee Williams’ “The Rose Tattoo” in the auditorium for the 2023 junior/senior play.

As always, the theater department dazzled audiences with compelling storylines, brilliant set design and acting so good it’s easy to forget you’re watching a high school production.

“The Rose Tattoo” follows the story of Sicilian-Americans Serafina Delle Rose and her daughter Rosa on the afternoon of Rosa’s graduation from high school, three years after the death of Serafina’s husband Rosario.

While that may sound like a simple story, “The Rose Tattoo” is anything but, with twists and turns that draw the watcher in and captivate our attention for the full two hours of the play.

The clear elephant in the room is the Italian accents, but the actors manage to deliver their lines with great accents and just as much emotion as if they were speaking in their native accent.

Senior Izzy Rudophi as Serafina delivers the clear standout performance of the play. Her lines are delivered passionately and emotionally, to the degree that she genuinely convinced me she was a tortured but wildly passionate Sicilian-American widow.

Her line delivery is on point throughout the entirety of the play, and she brings such strong chemistry with whomever she is acting alongside. At the end of act one, Rudophi shared the stage with Father De Leo, played by senior Steven Givens Reedus II, and she gave a heart-wrenching monologue about the grief following the death of her husband, which stands out as one of the most poignant moments of the play.

The core of “A Rose Tattoo” is the budding relationship between Rosa and Jack Hunter, a sailor passing through their town.

Senior Eric Sparks once again did a great job as the romantic lead, this time as Jack, providing an endearing awkwardness to the character that makes the relationship seem all the more real. Junior Jordana Block-Terson played a phenomenal Rosa, bringing great energy to every scene she is in.

The play’s strongest point is its ability to balance the buildup of tension with funny moments that add levity to the play, while making the emotional moments all the more impactful.

Senior David Joseph’s character of Alvaro Mangiacavallo is the epitome of this, with his overacted lines providing humor to otherwise tense scenes throughout the second act, while still driving the action forward.

The play is able to make the audience laugh during otherwise serious scenes; the scene where Rosa attempts to convince Serafina that Jack is worthy of her is a prime example. It drives the plot forward and serves to brilliantly characterize all three, while making the audience laugh at awkward conversations about Jack’s virginity.

There are also superbly-acted one-off characters that interact with Serafina throughout the play that provide key plot elements, while giving the audience a good laugh.

In act one, seniors Sosi Hagopian and Alena Dzierozynski play Flora and Bessie, two abrasive customers of Serafina. They belittle Serafina, adding to the character’s building anger, and plant the seeds of doubt about her late husband.

The same goes for the beginning of act two, in which junior Sam Foster plays The Salesman, who attempts to sell some useless gadget to Serafina. His presence effectively introduces Mangiacavallo through an amusing fight scene in Serafina’s front yard.

Of course, it’s impossible to talk about the humor of “The Rose Tattoo” without mentioning Senior Audrey Clemens as The Strega, a witch who seemingly haunts the Delle Rose household. She stalks around on stage, often cackling and making sarcastic remarks about the action. She never fails to provide a laugh, and Clemens is simply perfect for this role.

One of the greatest stars of “The Rose Tattoo” is the crew — the set design, costuming, and makeup — managed by junior Greta Van Brunt.

The scenes of the play solely take place in the lobby of Serafina’s tailoring company and the front yard of her house. While this could restrict the play, the sublime set of the house provides such detail and vividness that it adds significantly to the play.

The costume design, overseen by sophomore Valentina Gordillo, are beautiful and provide the needed realism for a play taking place in 1950s America. Complementing the costuming is extremely convincing makeup — especially the old age makeup applied for The Strega and Father De Leo.

Overall, “The Rose Tattoo” is an outstanding high school production. The excellent acting, paired with appealing set design, creates a show that was wholly worth watching.

The final production from LHS Stageplayers for the 2022-2023 school year will be “Clue,” performed on April 14th and 15th.