Posted April 4, 2015
By EMILY JOSEPH
“Jessie’s Girl” is playing on the radio. Students are wearing headbands, scrunchies, Member’s Only jackets and parachute pants. No one has a cell phone.
Are we back in the 1980s?
No, just on the set of “The Breakfast Club.”
Last week, QuantUM Entertainment at the University of Miami brought the John Hughes classic to campus with four live shows. Quantum strategically timed the play as this year marks the 30th anniversary of the Brat-Pack classic. But regardless of the year, the plot is as relevant and likeable as ever.
Using a cast of six actors, five students and one intense and rude teacher, the play opens with the students filing into a school library on a Saturday morning in the 1980s preparing for detention.
If you’ve seen the movie, the clothes immediately give the characters away. If not, you can make relatively correct assumptions about the characters’ personalities based on their respective appearances.
Claire, played by UM student Stephanie Weetman, arrives on scene first dressed as Molly Ringwald to a T. Wearing a pink skirt, pink shirt, high heels and carrying a purse, you can tell that Claire, “the princess,” isn’t a frequent face in detention.
Andrew, played by UM student Evan Forsell, enters as “the jock,” followed by the “nerd,” Brian, played by UM student Nick DeAngelis and the “outcast” Allison, played by UM student Kelly Zahnen. Finally, “the criminal,” John (referred to by his last name Bender), played by UM student Alex Kamphorst, makes a grand entrance and claims his usual seat in Saturday detention.
Instructions from the stern Miss Vernon, played by sophomore Noelle Rode, are to remain silent, stay in the room and for each student to write an essay about who they think they are.
Bender, breaking nearly every rule, commands the stage while interrogating and harassing the other students. As the so-called criminal with a tough guy persona, he is one of the last to admit his secret: an abusive past. However, he spurs many confessions, albeit predictable, from everyone else.
While the secrets aren’t surprising, the delivery adds an extra layer of intrigue.
Claire steadfastly maintains her “good-girl” image through multiple interrogations and really makes you question if she has a secret. She doesn’t stutter or fleet from her image until the pressure to confess hits boiling point.
Both Brian’s confession of academic pressure and Allison’s admission of not having friends hit a soft spot. Yet the delivery of Andrew’s secret is less heartwarming and the fake tears didn’t add much to the scene.
The message of acceptance and breaking stereotypes is well conveyed throughout the entire play. Through inner dialogue as well as conversations, the actors remind you of the pressures in high school. You’ll want to give each character a hug and tell them “they’ll survive” and then you’ll want to hug yourself for surviving.
Raw emotion is necessary to make high school students seem legitimate in their feelings. These actors did just that. With a mix of serious and goofy scenes, like rocking out to some classic rock music, they successfully broke high school stereotypes and brought the 1980s to U Miami. If only for a weekend.
- “The Breakfast Club”
- Performed by the University of Miami QuantUM Entertainment
- Show dates: March 19, 20, 21, 22 at the University of Miami Cosford Cinema
- Starring: Nick DeAngelis, Evan Forsell, Kelly Zahnen, Stephanie Weetman, Alex Kamphorst and Noelle Rode
- Reviewer rating: 4 out of 5 stars