Pop quiz, hotshot. The opening play of the season by Lansing Community College Theatre Program is: A) Not comical, B) Not sad, C) Not silly, D) Not profound or E) None of the above. The correct answer is E. “None of the Above,” presented in LCC’s Black Box Theatre, is a collection of contrasts — none of which were presented in anything but an above average manner.
Jenny Lyn Bader’s play is a mix of cleverness and predictability, intellectual repartee and high school banter, joy and sorrow. It was a commentary on SAT exams, a love story and an expose’ of elitist advantage and nerd vs. preppie conflicts. That is part of the appeal of this production, which is deftly directed by Mary Matzke. Its ability to create a range of emotions made the almost two-hour play about whiz kids whiz by.
Danica O’Neill is enchanting as Jamie, a high school student confronting her college entrance exams and questioning her relationships with her parents and boyfriends. Richard Kopitsch plays Clark, a tutor with a genius mind who is dealing with some mindless mistakes. The dissimilar and divergent duo delightfully delivered dialogue and discussions with distinct disparities.
O’Neill’s energetic, mood-swinging character proved a tough act for Kopitsch to keep up with. Her ease with the script and ability to create fluctuating expressions and mannerisms often overshadowed Kopitsch’s less polished delivery. I found the speed and wildness of the dialogue hard to grasp at times, but I was always engaged in the performance.
The set, created in the small theater by Bob Fernholz with Matzke’s assistance, was truly above expectations. The colorful room, complete with extensive accessories, stylish furniture and a walk-in closet, is worthy of a larger auditorium.
When it came time for stage adjustments between scenes, Dakota Jarrad, as the “Butler,” provided a special treat while performing the duties. In black with a satin vest and pink tie, under bright lights, he flamboyantly arranged props, adding fun flourishes like posing in the mirror or reading papers from an earlier scene. Anticipating his returns for set changes was a major highlight.
High hung lights, also designed by Fernholz. were delightfully manipulated. Drew Birchmeier soundly operated sound cues, and Jamie’s charming costumes — designed by Lynnette Velez — reflected the consummate modern, affluent teen girl. I found the plot somewhat predictable and sometimes flawed with its facts, but I suppose being a former SAT coach surely had a lot to do with that.
I must admit that Jamie’s casual sexual admissions — that started in the eighth grade, including men twice her age — and the ending, with the likelihood of another carnal incident at 17, was unsettling. But my distaste is probably as valid as a vegan complaining about a steakhouse’s menu since “None of the Above” follows in the tradition of “Pygmalion,” “My Fair Lady” and “Gigi,” to name only a few.
“None of the Above”
LCC Theatre Program
8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7-Saturday, Oct. 8
LCC Black Box Theatre 168 Gannon Building, 411 N. Grand Ave., Lansing
(517) 483-1488, lcc.edu/ showinfo