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Canyon presents ‘A Clockwork Orange’

Novel about violence, crime adapted to stage.

Posted: May 7, 2008 2:23 a.m.
Updated: July 8, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Canyon High's drama department staged a theatrical production of Anthony Burgess' "A Clockwork Orange."

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Samantha Lanthier is a senior journalism student at Canyon High School.

"You are passing now into a realm beyond the power of prayer!" The Chaplain screams, and every audience member sits silent and still.

The Canyon High School drama department, with the help of teacher Kristen Kusmaul, presented the theatrical production "A Clockwork Orange" by Anthony Burgess on Friday through Sunday in the campus theater.

In the play, a young droog (gang member) named Alex is given the opportunity to undergo an experiment that will force all violent or criminal acts out of his mind. Using it as a way to obtain early release from prison, this unsuspecting teen takes the treatment, a brainwashing disaster.

It doesn't make him good, but instead it just nauseates him when he thinks bad thoughts, altering his entire being. Alex learns that it is not considered being good if we are forced, but rather it is choosing to be good that matters most.

This theatrical experience displayed violent and criminal acts that push the limits of what is acceptable from a high school production and brought up an intriguing Biblical debate. The Chaplain, played by Dylan Belardinelli, rants about what gets someone into heaven or hell. This inspires Alex to realize that it is indeed his choice to do good deeds, and that's what ultimately matters in the end.

Not a single person could deny that this show was captivating. After every scene one could hear the soft hum of parents and students discussing the subject matter brought up in this play.

"I think that it is risky for high school, but it didn't cross the line," said audience member Suzanne Delong. "They weren't just random acts of violence.

Every scene had a purpose and with every punch the main character was transformed."

"It is gritty and in-your-face, but also original. I think it is what high school needs," said Breanna Bullard. "I loved ‘Beauty and the Beast' and all the other musicals, but this is easier to relate to. Kids do get into trouble and make stupid decisions - even so it doesn't glorify violence and shows the distinction between right and wrong. As long as people get that, there's nothing to worry about."

The true gift of this play is the actors. Ryan Moreno portrayed a perfect Alex. He jumped right into the character and seemed born to play the part. Ryan made it all seem real, and that is a bit scary.

First-time director Victor Trevino said it best: "I could not have played Alex as good as Ryan did - no one could."

Buried beneath the delinquencies there is a moral: "Choice is free but seldom easy, that's what human freedom means."

Watching Alex get to the point of moral clarity is hard - he makes big mistakes. However, Victor said it was necessary.

"We push the limits - people get caught up in it. It will be impossible for them to ignore the message at the end," Victor said. "I love the moral of freedom of choice. There is blood and violence, but behind that is a wonderful story with wonderful characters."

The cast and crew did a great job of making this show an intimate experience the audience will never forget.

"I am really proud of all the actors and everyone that worked on this play," Victor said. "I am confident in saying that everyone that saw it, enjoyed it."

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