As the old wooden dining room table stood in place, various scenes surrounding it occured in the American Heritage Center of the Arts’ performance of “The Dining Room.” The play introduced 18 different scenes with different characters and plots that all connected with one another, all in the same setting of a dining room.
Nineteen different actors from grades 9-11 portrayed different characters in a variety of scenes. The play, set in the 1930s, tackled many issues and made references to the Great Depression, alcoholism, working Irish immigrants, poor treatment of the working class and more. From giggling kids to maids and repairmen, all of the actors played diverse roles and were able to capture the audience’s emotions. One scene in particular mocked a soap opera and had the audience laughing out loud. In this scene, the actors purposefully exaggerated their reactions, including loud gasps, outlandish poses and other techniques to make the audience chuckle.
The play also included sadder moments such as when a daughter and father shared the emotional pain of failed relationships and when a nanny had to leave her job, leaving behind a little boy who was extremely saddened by her leaving.
Perhaps what was so captivating as a member of the audience was seeing the actors go from playing a child role to a grandparent to a teenager all within one show. Another interesting aspect of the show was how sometimes a scene would not even be finished and a new set of characters would walk in and sit at the dining room table, in their own different scenes. This made every scene feel so connected despite extremely different characters and plots.
The Dining Room was able to evoke many emotions from audience members. The realistic and diverse characters, hilarious jokes and deep concepts entertained the audience and provided a thought-provoking and different style of theatre.