This show may be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OrAnjkb1hw&feature=youtu.be
McLean High School
"Whenever you are ready, just open your eyes." Simple advice that when followed by viewers of Fairfax High School's original production of "Good Afternoon, Angel" unveiled a new perspective on life and love.
Written, directed, and edited by Fairfax's Tori Miller, the original production centered around a relationship between teenagers Avabelle (Madeleine Tyler) and Gabe (Spencer Kury) and was depicted through a series of FaceTime calls. Beginning with the words "Good afternoon, Angel" the pair's FaceTime calls appeared to repeat the same day, but only for one of them. As Avabelle relived the day over and over, the seemingly clueless Gabe secretly ushered her to imagine a future, a future that would not include Gabe as he watches over Avabelle after his death.
Madeleine Tyler and Spencer Kury portrayed Avabelle and Gabe and held great truth behind their roles as Miller crafted the writing around the actors' personalities. The genuine conversations created an authenticity behind the relationship that was contrasted by the moments of lighthearted jest. The detail Tyler included in her facials allowed the audience to be transported along Avabelle's journey of discovery. The moments of realization were skillfully maneuvered by Tyler, and her depiction of the degradation that accompanied the revelations was implemented with purpose.
The contrasting energy between Tyler's Avabelle and Kury's Gabe allowed for a simply delightful portrait of a teenage relationship. Kury's consistency through the repetitive scenes and utilization of the silence exposed the groundedness of his character. Gabe's ever-growing care for Avabelle was perfectly captured in his final monologue, describing her future of which he would not be a part. The positivity present in Gabe was evident in Kury's expressions until the end and his clear and calm delivery concluded the show but left a lasting message of hope.
Tori Miller commanded the production's tech elements as she wrote, directed, and edited the piece. Constructing a clever format of FaceTime calls that was timely and pandemic-friendly, Miller spoke on the reality of relationships in this day and age. Featured in the script was both aptly placed foreshadowing and mystery through ominous phrasing and skillful omittance of information. The plot slowly unfolded with clues to the inevitable end such as Gabe's nickname "Angel" for Avabelle as well as the brightness of his costume and background. Crafting familiar conversations between couples, Miller's dialogue included captivating moments of bickering and banter while also being conscious of the necessary continuity. The motif of dreams was directed by Miller to perfection and accompanied by her professional editing, shaped a meaningful product. Beginning and ending the production was the cover art created by Sofia Mesa-Morales. Displaying an overlooking angel, the piece took on new meaning at the commencement of the play.
As the screen faded on Fairfax High School's "Good Afternoon, Angel," Gabe's words "I am always going to be with you, no matter what" were taken to heart as the impact of this artfully composed original production will continue to provoke questions and understanding in the audience long after they hang up the FaceTime call.
Centreville High School
"Are you ready to move on?...Are you ready to let go?" Both sensible questions, but when love ends ill-fatedly who is really the one who has to learn to let go, the one who gets to live or the one who has to watch their love live without them? This theme is extensively explored in Fairfax High School's Good Afternoon, Angel which comes from the mind of student Tori Miller and was produced entirely by students. The one act play, set as a FaceTime call, with depth and thought-provoking content creates a tragically beautiful young romance.
It told the story of Avabelle and Gabe, a couple who went on a date that took an unfortunate turn, leaving only one of them alive. Avabelle began to relive the day of the accident over and over, and realized that even if their car crash was prevented, it wouldn't end the cycle. Gabe acted as her emotional rock, and eventually helped to ease her into being ready to "open [her] eyes" and go on with her life without him.
Madeleine Tyler who portrayed Avabelle and Spencer Kury who portrayed Gabe complimented each other nicely with natural mannerisms and dialogue, which created a sense of warmth in their relationship. Through light banter and small conversations about seemingly trivial things like dreams came an accurate representation of a modern teenage love. The emotional changes Avabelle and Gabe went through in almost completely opposite directions was realistic due to their varying perspectives of the situation, for while Gabe started to open up more in their last conversations, Avabelle became colder and more confused.
The play created a whole emotional journey in only twenty-two minutes of length. From deep moments that elicited emotion like Gabe's speech about promising a promise, all the way to their lighter moments about fantasies of living in London with pets galore, every part of the couple's relationship was explored. Madeleine Tyler and Spencer Kury strongly emphasized the different sides of their characters' relationship with compelling facial expressions and seamless transitions in tone.
The true standout was Tori Miller. As a high schooler herself, she showed profound attention to detail as scriptwriter, director, and editor. An interesting and rewarding decision, she based parts of the characters around the actors' personalities. Overall, her work was clever and well rounded. Even more so, her use of subtle symbolism, displayed significantly in the meaning of the characters' names, and frequent repetition created a new take on the classic "Groundhog Day" trope.
In our current reality, technical and visual aspects of virtual productions have become crucial to a show's success. Good Afternoon, Angel took a simple yet effective approach to them, which was able to easily communicate the context of the story. Notably, at the end of all the FaceTime calls except for the last, Avabelle was the last of the pair to be on the call. Although, in the concluding call Avabelle was able to let go of Gabe, leaving him as the last one on the call. A simple yet emotionally impactful moment that can be credited to the direction of tech.
Leaving emotions in tatters, the cast and crew of Good Afternoon, Angel succeeded in both presentation and performance. An impressive feat for all involved, the story of Avabelle and Gabe tells a beautiful reminder of how letting go is okay, and that a "promise of a promise" of love stays unbroken even when the person isn't physically present because love is boundless.