Pictured:Keeley McLaughlin (Tony Blanton)

All reviews are written by Cappies student critics and edited by Cappies adult mentors prior to publishing.

Sophy Meudt, a student at Heritage High School reviews “Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon performed by Oakton High School , as part of The Cappies Critics and Awards Program .

You might believe a play involving the after effects of domestic abuse, mental handicap, physical disability, and overall social prejudice would be a daunting and impossible task for a high school cast to take on and execute appropriately. Flint Hill School’s production of Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon dealt with all these delicate and very real issues with maturity and emotion beyond their years. 

This production was an adaptation by D.D. Brooke based off a novel by Marjorrie Kellogg. It was later made into a movie in 1970 and directed by Otto Preminger. The story revolves around three main characters, who find each other in a hospital, each deeply scarred in their own way.  Junie Moon (Keeley McLaughlin) must learn to come to terms with the horrors of her past, depending on her quick wit and the strong bonds she forms with Arthur (Kyle Decamp) and Warren (John Osborn) to get her through the pain. The trio faces the trials that society puts them through for being “different” as they find their own way back to life, happiness, and maybe even love.

Faced with a difficult script that at times lacked closure in scenes, the cast did well. They were able to keep up the pacing and create genuine emotions felt by the audience. Kyle Decamp was the most prominent example of this. In his monologues and dialogue he remained fully committed to his complex character, including a consistent stutter, and walking off stage in character.  However, where he truly thrived was in reacting. During the voiceover sound effects Decamp’s facial expressions and motivated gestures echoed the repercussions of what he was hearing, and made it believable.  McLaughlin was commendable in the role of Junie. She thrived during her biting and resentfully witty lines and brought an enjoyable energy to the stage.  John Osborn took on the impressive task of acting whilst in a wheelchair and surmounted it. His legs remained completely still during the show, especially impressive during comedic delivery of lines with big eccentric arm movements.  A task such as this is laudable for any high school student, not having experienced being in a wheel chair and paralyzed.

Another actor deserving mention was Sam Marich in the role of Sydney Wyner, who was a hilarious addition to the show. His vocal inflection and wonderful characterization brought much needed energy to scenes and incited laughter from the audience as the comic relief.  He seemed completely cognizant of his purpose and motivation, which was lacking at times from others.  Scene changes were appropriately quick and sound effects were enhancing to the story.  This was especially true in the dramatic cut out of music, during traumatic events.  The entire cast projected well, as few lines were lost to the audience throughout the production.

As a whole Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon was a pleasing portrait of a not so perfect society. Flint Hill School’s cast and crew should be proud of their ability to take a complex story and script and take it to this level.