LHS Verbatim Theatre Production “Belonging” Review

Belonging is a show that anyone and everyone at LHS can connect with and learn from, as the ingenuity of the cast, crew, and director combined with the universal theme of acceptance makes the LHS community shine.

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Do you feel like you belong? Over the course of Trimester 1, many students and staff of Livermore High School have been asked questions like this. The people asking were a handful of inspirational students willing to be both the sculptors and the sculpture, as they have not only been brave enough to ask this question but brave enough to share the answers.

When the idea of a verbatim style show was first announced I was intrigued, but concerned for many reasons. This was like nothing the LHS Drama Department had attempted before and I have worried that in a pandemic where actors couldn’t even meet in-person, there was no way it could be done well.

I joined the Stagecraft group in the initial part of development but only stayed a few weeks and I don’t regret the decision, as there was little structure to the weekly meetings and I was already busy enough without trying to completely rethink the production process. Thankfully, my concerns have been proved unnecessary. If anything, the fact that Belonging was pulled off during a pandemic only makes it even more incredible. 

It was not perfect—very few shows are—but the uniqueness and honesty of this show made it one of the best I’ve ever seen.

First off, a round of applause for the fantastic director who was courageous enough to even attempt such a big project, Carol Hovey. The Drama teacher and Director has done some pretty difficult shows in the past (looking at you A Civil War Christmas) but this one definitely takes the cake. Not only has she created something deep and soulful, but she’s also given the LHS community a chance to be heard, and in a situation where everyone is isolated in their own four walls, that is no small gift. 

The cast of Belonging also deserves a massive round of applause and a standing ovation too, as their hard work has definitely paid off. From start to finish the cast has put in so much effort making sure their performance would not only be entertaining but would also do their muses justice.

As one of the students who was interviewed for the show, I enjoyed being the inspiration for one of the phenomenal actors, and the dedication to guaranteeing my words would not lose their weight when transferred to a script was amazing. Not only did the actors pick up on and then perfectly mimic the way their inspirations spoke, but they also did an incredible job copying body language and emotion. 

The actors all did a wonderful job balancing the uniqueness of the original speeches with their own take on life and I appreciated the fact that they managed to replicate the way their subjects dressed too, as that helped the show feel bigger with such a small cast.

Last, but certainly not least, another round of applause is due to the spectacular crew and their efforts to make this production a piece of LHS history. Where they usually had to help backstage, manage sound cues, and work lights, this brave group of students did something completely new, and I think they did a remarkable job with what they had. While there is certainly room to improve for transitions and editing, this Stagecraft class now has something amazing to show off and be proud of.

Belonging is a show that anyone and everyone at LHS can connect with and learn from, as the ingenuity of the cast, crew, and director combined with the universal theme of acceptance makes the LHS community shine.