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San Domenico School News & Events

On the Razzle - A reflection from Director Jen Grimes
Students in On the Razzle

“Fourteen years ago, I saw a terrific production of Tom Stoppard’s wild farce, On the Razzle, at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and immediately bought a copy of the play. And held onto it. I knew the right time would come, when all the elements were aligned to direct this finely-tuned, fast-paced comedy with our students.  And it did.

Last spring, when discussions began about the possibility of returning to live performances this school year, On the Razzle was the first show that came to mind. I knew this was the time. We need this! Yes, it’s hugely ambitious from a performance and tech perspective. But, after the COVID-19 restrictions and isolation, we needed to bust out! We needed to bring a great deal of creative, exuberant people together in one room! We needed to laugh! 

Comedy is defined by timing: on pauses, on-line delivery, and on actions: from eye movement, to head turns, to complex physical bits. And farce, by its nature, must be the finest-tuned of them all. We have the students to do it, no question. On the Razzle provides the best possible challenges for comic acting, and we worked hard (and laughed a lot) since the first week of September. Farce requires non-stop energy, a great deal of patience, and sharp focus to perfect each physical bit, and the delivery of every line. A simple action, such as grabbing another character and throwing them towards the door, is broken down into each element of movement, practiced in slow motion until perfect, then is sped up. Multiply one action by 200, and you have an idea of the work that goes into rehearsing each moment of this play.  Verbal work must be intensely sharp; verbal and physical elements must be polished individually and as a team, for comedy only truly works when it works together. An ensemble play is the pieces of the puzzle fitting together perfectly.

Student actor in On the Razzle

Our students, on the stage and on the Tech Crew under Hannah Ozeran, brought enormous energy, goodwill, and commitment to the show. And time. We rehearsed five days a week; our leads, Seniors Gael Taylor (Weinberl) and Jensen Goldman (Christopher) were called to almost every rehearsal for the full time. When not on stage in rehearsal, they would go outside and work together, and their teamwork was impeccable. The play wouldn’t hold together if we didn’t believe that Weinberl and Christopher were a team of true friends. To me, this friendship is symbolic of the cast, crew, and the production as a whole: the elements were aligned to bring this group of students together to do our On the Razzle.

Each production creates its own community. The performances are the icing on the cake for the actors and tech crew; our world to share with you. The majority of our time was spent on the creation, and that is where the bonds which ultimately create the world of the play are formed. Moment by moment, gradually building into the full world of the play. The final element is you, our audience. We were so honored to share our Razzle world with you. Thank you for making the show a SOLD OUT success!”

– Jen Grimes
Upper School Theatre Arts Instructor

Students involved in On the Razzle Production:

Junyi (Linda) An
Lily Broll
Jaylee Cabello
Aarya Chowdhry
Lily Cline
Iain Cunningham
Evan Ford
Roman Gavrilov

Ava (Jensen) Goldman
Griffin Holland
Ava (Mauve) Kennedy
Vivian Le
Malia Louie
Fatima (Zara) Makkaoui
Eleri Martin
Fiona Martin

Sinead Murphy
Briar O’Connell
Chloe O’Shea
Sam Parise
Caroline Pirsch
Elliot Richter
Elizabeth (Ellie) Rosenberg
Daphne Shlain

Maple Silverstein
Anya Skinnell
Maddie Snyder
Gael Taylor
Ningrui (Kyra) Wang
Ashe West-Lewis