When you hear that a script deals with a school shooting, you don’t expect to laugh during the production. But I laughed – and I’m talking out loud – frequently during Full Circle Theatre Project’s production of From Up Here.
This was the first production put on by Full Circle Theatre Project, a new venture founded by SPARC alumni. The director and actors may be under 21, but the quality is professional. Performed in the intimate Sara Belle November Education Theatre, From Up Here is recommended for ages 16 and up for profanity and mature themes, and rightly so.
Act One begins much like a morning in my house: a grumpy teenager running around trying to find her shirt, another refusing to accept help with a heavy bag. But there’s one key difference: this is high schooler Kenny’s first day back to school. He has a police escort, his parents check his backpack before he leaves home, and he can’t be anywhere without an adult chaperone.
Get ready to fall in love with this family as they desperately try to cling to any remaining inch of normalcy. The best part? They’re truly believable characters, who will make you laugh with their stereotypical characteristics – the OCD planned-to-the second mother; the overly nice stepfather, and the too-cool rebellious sister – but surprise you with their depth.
The cast expertly utilizes all corners of the theater, fighting, dancing, and even singing on a simple, but well-designed set. The singing is, in fact, from the high-pitched squeak of my favorite character, Charlie, an overenthusiastic guitar player.
This two-hour play – including 10-minute intermission – flies by, like conversation with an old friend. There’s something especially satisfying about applauding the success of these young actors and actresses, to share in the start of what is sure to be a prolific theatre company. I recommend this one to high school students, their parents, and college students home from school.
Reviewed by Sarah Lockwood
From Up Here runs long weekends now through August 12 at Sara Bell November Education Theatre.
Full Price: $10 | Students: $8