Amelia Beard and Caroline Evans. Photo by Elyza Polido, a student at Albert Einstein High School.
It’s a marriage of convenience and comedy in Albert Einstein High School’s production of “Lavender.”
With its world premiere at Albert Einstein High School, “Lavender” unfolds a captivating drama-packed comedy about finding one’s true self. Taking place in an unnamed European country during medieval times, this narrative follows Daphne and Leopold, two individuals thrust into an arranged marriage against their will. Simultaneously, Daphne secretly pursues a romance with a lady-in-waiting named Rosalie, and Leopold is secretly dating a poet named Armond. However, in a society where same-sex relationships are punishable by death, Daphne and Leopold must hide their true selves or face unimaginable consequences.
Eitan Amster’s every movement as Ungale the Butler had the audience rolling with laughter. From amusing in-character running during chase scenes to exaggerated deep bows, Amster delivered an engaging performance with impeccable comedic timing that brought life to Ungale. Amster’s high-pitched character voice, filled with dramatic flair, was off-the-charts hilarious and perfect for the conniving character.
Francine’s duality of both a caring friend and an over-the-top gossip was flawlessly portrayed by Arwyn Hager. Francine’s interactions with Rosalie felt genuine, even during tricky moments in their friendship. Further, Hager perfectly contrasted Ungale the Butler in the characters’ rivalry. From chasing each other through the audience to having complicated simultaneous lines to display their similarities and differences, the duo provided chaotic energy and high-stakes situations that added immense drama to the show.
The ensemble brought life to the stage with their bold personas. Each member had a clear-cut character with distinct mannerisms and relationships with the other ensemble characters, creating a realistic interpretation of the story.
Not only were the performers fabulous, but the technical elements of “Lavender” were equally professional. The costuming by Josh McClendon and Lorrilee Soderstrum was exemplary, elevating each character’s personality. Daphne’s beautiful dress was a standout, due to its shimmering lavender hue that occasionally seemed to appear pink in certain lighting, displaying the different sides of Daphne. Many ensemble members also had small lavender elements incorporated into their costumes, a thoughtful touch. The queen’s costuming was also extremely well done, featuring an offset crown that provided both a regal element and a physical reminder of the character’s childlike quality. The strategic blocking of the show utilized live violin music during transitions, including impressively student-written compositions, ensuring there was never a dull moment.
For a show that proves laughter truly is the best wedding gift, “Lavender” at Albert Einstein High School was a beautiful exploration of identity and society.
The performance reviewed was presented on Saturday, November 4, 2023.
Review submitted by Hannah Longfellow of Oakton High School.