25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Response
April 30, 2018
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a musical comedy written by Rachel Sheinkin and was performed by the University of Scranton’s Theatre Department. The show follows six middle schoolers who compete to win a $200 bond for college in a spelling bee. As each character is introduced they show-off their weird, idiosyncratic characteristics. The point of this play was mostly to entertain the crowd through music brought on by a weird awkwardness and quirkiness that each character has. Besides entertainment, this play also displays the shockingly competitive nature of younger student in school spelling bees.
In the opening scene, it shows Rona Lisa Peretti (Victoria Pennington) reliving her spelling of the word “syzygy” which won her the 3rd Annual Spelling Bee. This shows that in this town, the spelling bee is extremely competitive and very memorable. The lighting designer helped show the stress and excitement of Rona by focusing all the light on her which added to her nostalgia. After this Rona introduces all the competitors and all their quirkiness along with it. One of them is William Barfée (Nicolas Gangone), he is introduced as William Barfee not Barfée, and for the rest of the musical, which provides many little laughs throughout the whole performance. The director’s (Michael O’Steen) job is to realize the intentions of the playwright (Rachel Sheinkin), which I believe he has done. The intentions of the playwright are to entertain the audience through the musical combination of awkwardness, competitiveness, and quirkiness.
The scene that best captured the playwright’s intentions is the Jesus scene. During this, Marcy (Collen Boyle) is asked to spell camouflage, from this she sighs and proclaims, “Dear Jesus, can't you come up with a harder word than that?” Jesus Christ then appears and tells her she is in control of her own life. To escape the stress of always succeeding, she intentionally misspells camouflage and happily leaves the stage. For me, this was one of the funniest scenes just for the fact that Jesus Christ randomly appears onstage and helps Marcy with her dilemma. If you were getting bored with the show at all,...