Arts & Entertainment

Stuart High’s ‘Anne of Green Gables’ a Crowd Pleaser

Imagine a girl with red hair and pigtails. Imagine her as an orphan filled with life. Imagine her with a sweet voice and a tale of woe, but above all imagine her with a larger than life imagination. Her name is Anne Shirley and she starred in JEB Stuart High School’s recent production of “Anne of Green Gables.”Anne_249

Imagine a girl with red hair and pigtails. Imagine her as an orphan filled with life. Imagine her with a sweet voice and a tale of woe, but above all imagine her with a larger than life imagination. Her name is Anne Shirley and she starred in JEB Stuart High School’s recent production of “Anne of Green Gables.”

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Stuart High School performs “Anne of Green Gables.” (Photo: Courtesy Rachelle Ashour)

Based on the beloved 1908 novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery, “Anne of Green Gables” has been adapted multiple times for the stage as well as for film and television. The novel also served as inspiration for a variety of various artistic works. The play takes place in Prince Edward Island and follows a young girl, Anne Shirley and the impact she makes as she grows older in a small town.

With an impressive cast of females, JEB Stuart gave a polished performance, although the pacing of the show was drawn out, creating rifts between and during scenes. Though many of the characters lacked thorough development, they were intriguing to watch with unique mannerisms and authentic onstage interactions.

Rachel Frenkel (Anne) exuded the childlike exuberance essential to her character. Always focused and in character, Frenkel only drifted into melodrama occasionally, consistent with her character, and gave an impressive performance overall, becoming a crowd favorite by the end.

Mariana Barbosa (Mrs. Lynde) brought authenticity to her role and energy to the stage. With a vocal pattern and physicality that matched her character and endured throughout the performance, Barbosa filled the stage with her presence and brought much needed vitality to the production.

Jamie Ahlborn (Marilla) and Osama Ashour (Matthew), as the elderly siblings who adopted Anne, worked well together, conveying emotion with as little as a glance. Ahlborn, shone in the second act, with moments where her line delivery combined with the other aspects of her performance created instances of brilliance.

Some of the technical aspects of the production, while setting high aspirations, occasionally detracted from the overall show. The set, worked to create the feel of the interior of the house and allowed for a sense of space and the feel of movement, but scene changes were drawn out and slowed the pace of the show.

All in all, JEB Stuart High School managed to convey beautifully the story of a lost girl who finding a home, finds love.

• Miles Drawdy is a student at Chantilly High School and a member of the Cappies Critics and Awards program.