This show may be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Os5b7N2fEvY&feature=youtu.be
Falls Church High School
In 2015, Lin-Manuel Miranda's "Hamilton" swept the world. The Tony-winning musical has had three national tours and huge success on Broadway and in London's West End. Its cultural influence is unmatched by any production from at least the last 20 years. One fan, a Twitter user known as Every Day Elizadeath, noticed that Peggy Schuyler, the younger sister of two of Alexander Hamilton's love interests, is dropped from the story after Hamilton's wedding with her sister Eliza. In response, Every Day Elizadeath created a witty Twitter thread of imagined entries in Peggy's diary. The thread revisits important events in the musical from Eliza's point of view. Theater students at Robinson Secondary School saw this thread, and, after asking permission, decided to adapt it into a short one-woman play, done in the style of a vlog (video-blog). This is how "Dear Diary...Love, P Schuy" came into being.
"Dear Diary...Love, P Schuy" was presented as a one-woman show, with Emma Fleck at the helm as Peggy Schuyler. Fleck gave a distinguished performance, with evident dedication to her role. Although the show was short and would have been easy to overlook, Fleck made it entertaining to watch. Her pointed delivery of the clever Twitter thread brought it to life and engaged the audience. One particularly impressive feat was the effortless backwards repetition of one of her diary entries. In the musical, there is a "rewind" section in the song "Satisfied," which is sung at Alexander and Eliza's wedding. In the original thread, the writer repeats Peggy's wedding entry backwards; Fleck did the same, rising to the challenge with ease. Fleck's performance as "P Schuy" felt personal, effectively capturing the vlog format and doing justice to Every Day Elizadeath's Twitter thread.
Although Robinson's show was short, there was still significant technological work put into it. The yellow dress, designed and selected by Harry Glicklin, was a simple yet effective tool to strengthen the audience's association between Fleck and the character of Peggy. Also important was the transition music, edited by Beau Baldassari. The music was reminiscent of moments in the musical, communicating to "Hamilton" fans in the audience exactly which part of the show each diary entry was set in. Furthermore, each diary entry featured a backdrop of a different shot of the Broadway "Hamilton" set. These behind-the-scenes efforts brought the show together and made it obvious that the Peggy on screen was the same as the Peggy from Miranda's musical.
"Dear Diary...Love, P Schuy" was a short but entertaining and enjoyable exploration of the perspective of one of Hamilton's minor characters. The work of the students at Robinson Secondary School helped give the youngest Schuyler Sister her chance in the spotlight. For just one night, she was lined up with Broadway's most famous names; there's Tevye, Jean Valjean…"and Peggy!"
Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School
It's a robust, Hamilton-fanatic revelation--a tale of the Schuyler family's untold story, which doesn't appear in Lin Manuel Miranda's Original Broadway Production. The title role is naive, sprightly, and sassy. But even more interesting is its origin. With a script derived from Twitter User "Every Day Elizadeath, "Dear Diary (Yellow Heart), P. Schuy sheds light on the overlooked character of Peggy Schuyler, sister of Angelica and Eliza.
This venture marks Robinson Secondary School's sixth week of their "10-in-10 Production Series": 10-minute shows in 10 weeks from non-traditional sources. Namely, Robinson found the script for Dear P. Schuy on Twitter. Last July, Hamilton-fangirl and Twitter User "Every Day Elizadeath" wrote her tale of Peggy Schuyler in "Twitter script form." Limited by 280 characters per post, the New York-based female writer released her diary script last July. With Robinson's production theme this week being "Women of the World" and female perspective, it was Direct Message (DM) that connected director Meghan Thrift and the writer of Dear Diary (Yellow Heart), P. Schuy. Apparently, writer "Every Day Elizadeath" responded to Robinson's request to stage the show with a "GO FOR IT! (and laughing emojis)." And Rambunctious Theatre did just that.
The story follows P. Schuy, short for Peggy Schuyler. Played by Robinson Sophomore Emma Fleck, the Zoom production took an interesting approach to the staging of the show: vlogging (video blogging). With the script already written in diary form, and student actors confined to their homes, Robinson came up with the idea to make the show into a vlog-style YouTube performance, something with which many students are familiar. As an audience member, this stylistic approach was easy to follow, particularly while watching the transitions; kudos to Director Megan Thrift for their design. Moreover, it was fascinating to see how Dear Diary (Yellow Heart), P. Schuy isolates Peggy Schuyler's side of the story.
Fleck effectively communicated her character's sensitivity and youthfulness, always maintaining eye contact with the Zoom audience (her camera). She felt anguish at times where "[She] wasn't a part of the love triangle" between Alexander Hamilton, and her sisters Angelica and Eliza. It was impressive to see Fleck take on a role never popularized before--she was limited to seemingly-cameo style appearances of Peggy Schuyler in the actual Hamilton: An American Musical. Therefore, Fleck undertook a role that she could not necessarily research, and that is difficult to do.
Not only was Fleck's performance an accurate representation of Peggy Schuyler, but the show tech as a Zoom Production was also noteworthy. Director Thrift chose to have the Hamilton: An American Musical set; since the show was virtually performed, set-building was actually finding high-quality pictures of the set. This was accomplished and well-done. As a past attendee of Hamilton: An American Musical at Richard Rogers Theater, one will notice the set images of Robinson's show accurately changed according to the time of each scene. For example, following sister Eliza's grieving song "Burn," the lights on stage are dim in Hamilton: An American Musical. Similarly, the set of Robinson's production is dim as Peggy recounts her story of the Maria Reynolds Scandal.
Overall, Robinson did a spectacular job Friday Night. Keep up the storytelling.