It's always refreshing to see high school students take themselves and their craft seriously.
This was the case when Hanford High School seniors presented their annual project. The seven one-act plays showed the audience what can be done when a handful of students show what they have accomplished.
It is not possible to be the cheering section for all these players in one review, so I'm commending those players who made me look twice, whether it was from natural delivery or comedic timing.
Don't Play Games With Me -- A farce about a group addicted to board games. It was pleasant to watch with mild humor in places. The standout performer in this group is Sam Fenton.
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Todd and Becky -- A small play about finding someone again only to discover they, too, have not had the best of times. This one was slow to deliver.
From The River -- A poignant tale of friends now living in the hereafter. Shea McAuly delivered a very believable performance and reminded me of a young Matt Damon.
Twitch -- A comedic romp about suspicious neighbors and their attempt to find out about the people they live next door to. This is a very funny piece, and all four players carried their own with no overacting and good delivery. Christine Becker gave a deadpan delivery and was very funny.
Shuffling -- While it's an interesting concept and a very current topic, it was long and tedious at best. Good acting by all, but no real standouts here.
A Growing Problem -- It was just that, a problem. I appreciated the attempt at humor in this piece, but to me it just fell flat. A shame really, because while it wasn't a good vessel, the actors did well with what they were given. Emily Doughty's performance gave credence to a tough subject.
Cheddar and Roast Beef -- The delivery of both Emily Curran and Caleb Steinmeyrer was a joy to watch as they turned in the performances of the night in this tale about perceptions.
Overall, this was an enjoyable evening watching the next generation show their passion.
My biggest disappointment of the evening came not from the stage but from three girls who snuck in during intermission and then talked, giggled and texted throughout the performances.
I also hope that by the time Hanford High has another play in its Black Box Theatre, the school will have replaced the faded black paint and the ripped curtains held together with safety pins.
The one-act plays continue in Hanford's Black Box Theatre, 450 Hanford Ave., Richland, at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 21-22. Admission is $8 for adults and $6 for students and seniors.
*Layne Newman spent 27 years as a military wife before moving to Kennewick. Her two passions are theater and history, both of which she picked up while growing up in New Zealand.