Play offers a unique look

Published 3:02 pm Thursday, October 12, 2017

Buckingham County High School’s (BCHS) latest play, “Dear Chuck,” is much like life in that it doesn’t follow a single or simple story. 

The one-act play, taking place Oct. 13 at the school’s auditorium at 7 p.m., features a series of short vignettes, or episodes.

The episodes focus on teenagers who struggle to understand the world around them and face the challenges of growing older as they search for “Chuck,” a figure who always seems elusive.

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English teacher and play organizer Kristye Moxley said the play, written by Los Angeles playwright Jonathan Dorf, is meant to parallel life outside of the stage.

Rather than a simple or linear plot, each segment covers a series of topics and characters, many of which members of the audience could relate to and that offer metaphorical ideas.

“There are several monologues where students read a letter that they’ve written to Chuck. They grapple in those scenes with wanting to grow up, but also are afraid to,” Moxley said, citing another scene in the play where the teenage characters stage a protest because a restaurant won’t let them order off of the kid’s menu. “They want to take on a new part of themselves and a new challenge. But at the same time, they are resistant because of fears.”

“We’re also living in a very fast-paced world where kids have to grow up fairly quickly,” Moxley said, citing the challenges the teenagers in the play have to face.

Yet, the play does not only address serious issues.

“There’s sweetness, but there’s also humor mixed in,” Moxley said.

“I think audiences will really enjoy ‘Dear Chuck.’ But it’s definitely stretched my cast,” Moxley said, adding that there are 14 students involved in the play.

“This is nothing like we’ve done before. And they’re not even sure how to tell their friends what the play is about, because there isn’t a plot. It doesn’t end very well because I think everybody likes a good concluding, a nice, inspirational ending. But in this play, it ends with the fact that you have to keep looking for Chuck, you have to keep looking for yourself.”

Jeffrey Stanley, 16, is a junior at the school and plays several roles in the production.

He said the roles have been both a challenge and an experience and said it was a way to gain perspective on how different people live.

“I get to experience basically a taste of real life on stage. It’s like growing up in so many different scenarios. A girl working up the courage to asking her crush. A boy auditioning for a job and someone else talking about divorce,” Stanley said. “Basically so many different aspects of life.”

Stanley attended the Virginia Theater Association production conference last October with eight students and Moxley. Five of the students are featured in “Dear Chuck.”

The play will be BCHS’ entry into the association’s High School One Act Play Festival.

“She thought it was a good play because of the life lessons it taught,” Stanley said of Moxley’s choice to perform the play.

Moxley said she and the performers will participate in the competition Oct. 26-28 in one of three theaters hosting the event.