Review: “Becoming America” at the DMACC Huff Theater

Jarrett Quick

Staff Writer

When I first sat down for the performance of “Becoming America” at the DMACC Huff Theater, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

I had been to a few other plays put on at the Huff Theater, but this was the first I went to having no idea what it would be about. It turned out to be an interesting dark comedy about how living in the past can be dangerous, even deadly.

The play centers around the Landmark Inn. The inn’s inhabitants are attempting to relive their town’s fifteen minutes of fame through a festival celebrating the short time George Custer spent in the inn.

The townspeople were each unique and interesting. The performances brought by the cast reflected the excitement of the misguided townspeople clinging on to a time long past, and the cast got appropriately creepy when the play demanded it of them.

Characters Howard and Genelle, played by Scott Boland and Joanna Rodish respectively, set the tone for the play as the organizers of the towns celebration. There was Rachel Ray level perkiness present on stage, and it worked well to show how detached the town was from reality.

Joining the townspeople was TV personality Donna Daily, played by Carissa Best, who is in town to cover the festivities. Best did an excellent job playing someone trying to stay professional while surrounded by the insanity of the Landmark Inn.  She and Dante Vitullo III seemed to garner the most laughs during the show I attended.

I was especially impressed by the scene between Donna and Harlan, played by Ryan Ward. In the scene, the two are arguing over why the town can’t let go of the past. Both performers do well, and Ward delivers a line that sums up the towns lack of desire to move forward: “(the past) must have been a better place.” The scene was a little bizarre, but it showed how blind dedication to the worn-out traditions caused the townspeople to be unwilling to look to the future.

I attended the 11:15 a.m. showing on March 7; one of seven performances the cast had to do in two days, and I enjoyed it. Some of the religious themes were a little heavy handed, but a pertinent issue to address on the topic of the slow decline of small town America.

For those of you interested in experiencing some of the theatrical productions being put on at DMACC, Spring Festival 2013 takes place April 18 to April 19 and will include three short plays put on by the program. For more information on DMACC’s drama program, you can contact Drama Professor William Johnson at dmaccdrama@juno.com.

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