As Bees in Honey Drown
by Horizon High School

Anthony Gianna and Catherine ChengeryEvan Wyler has just joined the ranks of published authors. He’s a bit naïve, and not quite sure how such success will alter his life. So when the professional magazine photographer suggests he take off his shirt for the photo shoot, he does it. And when that leads him to meet the unbelievable Alexa Vere de Vere who loves new artists and wants to hire him to write her outlandish autobiography, he does it. And when she asks him to pay for everything with his credit card for which she will reimburse him, he does it. Not realizing what is obvious to everyone else – that the artist-loving Alexa is a sort of artist herself.

Douglas Carter Beane’s satirical comedy slams fame-pursuing artists and those who blindly choose perception over reality. The play feels a bit rushed and disjointed at first, but it’s simply trying to make us feel the rush and confusion of the new writer propelled into life in the fast lane. A writer who, as bees in honey drown, becomes so overcome by his own good fortune that he can’t handle it. Everything slows down when the writer’s world stops spinning, and as he begins to learn more about the one-and-only Alexa Vere de Vere.

And Catherine Chengery is just the actress for the role – a chameleon who switches back and forth between her alter egos to get what she wants out of her bigger-than-life life. Sometimes she’s a real person with creative ambition, and sometimes she’s a captivating name-dropper who can play people like a harp and charm the pants off a gay man. In both roles, she nailed it.

Anthony Gianna is the gay writer Evan who falls for Alexa’s charms, and then becomes obsessed with finding out how and why. He does a nice job as the naïve young writer who gets swept up in perceived success. Noah Strozier is a believable Mike Stabinsky, the laidback former friend of Alexa’s, and as comic relief with his over-the-top suit salesman. Other fine performances come from Patrick Wills as one of Alexa’s many past victims now trying to move on with his life, and Sara Cobb as Patrick’s amusing secretary and as a not-too-bright young star who has every good intention of helping Evan sting Alexa.

Director Jay Seller’s production flows perfectly throughout, from the crazy early scenes as we get swept up in fame to the slower pace of the revealing second act. The flow is helped along nicely by the movable sets that smoothly slide off- and on-stage (with, of course, the help of a great tech crew).

Performed April 19-20, 2007.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Anthony Gianna, Catherine Chengery, and Noah StrozierEvan Wyler: Anthony Gianna
Alexa Vere de Vere: Catherine Chengery
Photographer/Swen/Clerk/Waiter: Kevin Lerma
Morris Kaden: Patrick Wills
Ronald/Skunk/Mike Stabinsky: Noah Strozier
Secretary/Bethany/Ginny/Singer/Muse: Sara Cobb
Amber/Illya/Denise/Muse/Carla/News Clerk: Danielle Brown

Director: Jay Seller
Lighting and Sound Design: Chris Hong
Stage Manager: Sarah Reynolds


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