As the lights go up, a troupe of brightly dressed gypsies slink onstage – bells jangling – inviting the audience to join in the anecdotal revue that is Flint Hill School’s production of “Pippin.”
“Pippin” is the story of the son of Charlemagne and his journey to self-discovery. He travels through this show-within-a-show with commentary provided by the slightly cynical, omnipresent Leading Players who attempt to direct him towards what they believe will be the culminating moment of his life. However, Pippin discovers through love, death, hard work, and soul-searching that only he can decide what his true future will be.
The large cast of Flint Hill’s production worked cohesively throughout the show and lived up to high expectations through the sparkling chemistry that unified the ensemble. Strong vocal talent boosted every number to an exceptional level, which easily engaged the audience and displayed the devotion of the cast.
Pippin, played by Adam Clark, radiated a clear comfort onstage. His strong, melodious voice was moving and effective in his portrayal of the confused, but hopeful, character. There was also convincing magnetism between Clark and his love interest Catherine (Lucy Mathias).
Will Lacy presented an hilarious interpretation of the “strong and stupid” Lewis. He was emotionally invested in every scene and, even when he wasn't speaking, provided laughs for the watchful audience member. Katie Rosenthal as the old grandmother Berthe was also quite humorous.
The dramatic lighting in various colors and intensities worked well with the story by providing a backdrop for Pippin’s sometimes fantastic adventures. The costumes, especially those of the gypsy ensemble members, gave the show a twist by presenting it as though it were a story told by a group of wandering minstrels.
Desperately searching for meaning in life is a trial one surely hopes to avoid, but may, nevertheless, encounter as did Pippin in his quest for understanding. The cast and crew of “Pippin” surely found their corner of the sky as they made magic on the Flint Hill stage.
(Cappies is a high school critics and awards program involving 50 schools in the Virginia, Maryland and D.C. areas.)