Review: EC Theatre’s Production of ‘Bethel Park Falls’

Words by: Christina Loberti

“Bethel Park Falls” was a sentimental play capturing the essence of ‘people being human’ as described by student director, Nadel Henville. The play was originally written about five years ago by Jason Pizzarello. Henville, a senior at Emmanuel College, directed the play for her senior capstone project. Her efforts went above and beyond to create a well rounded cast which paired perfectly with the works of Junior stage manager, Kelley Kazorek

Photo courtesy of Carter Schneider

The props, scenery, and technical effects brought a welcoming feel that immersed the audience into the play itself. Overall, a great presentation was produced by both Henville and Kazorek, as well as all of the cast and crew members involved in the Emmanuel College theater department.

The play consisted of many small scenes, typically social interactions between two characters. Scenes were dramatic, comical, emotional, and heartfelt. Storylines of characters overlapped with others allowing for audience members to make quick and even shocking connections. 

Bethel Park, the setting of the show, allowed many characters to meet each other and hold their own special bonds to the park itself. However, conflict arose when we learned this park was on the verge of being sold. Many were saddened by the idea the park wasn’t going to be there much longer.

All characters experienced moments of personal growth and change while learning life lessons at the park. The moments they shared with other individuals at the park allowed each of them to see the goodness left in the world, imperfections people have, and most importantly the ability to change for the better. In the end, the park was saved and named in dedication to the character Reed, a soldier who had died while on duty. 

Excellent performances were presented by all cast members, many of which played multiple characters throughout the play. I thank each cast member for their wonderful execution and incredible performances. Many hard hitting subjects were discussed throughout the play including suicide, cancer, infidelity, motherhood, death of a soldier in duty, and homelessness. 

Each of these subjects were discussed accurately and filled with both passion and care by all performers. The play was also LGBTQ+ friendly consisting of a marriage between two female characters as well as some scenes using gender inclusive pronouns.

Certain scenes in particular stood out to me that highlighted these deeper sought subjects. Senior Julia Burke who played Gaia, a heartbroken student who was expelled for cheating, and senior Ryan Guimares who played Ash, a fisherman who couldn’t fish, led a great performance embodying the importance of life. Gaia was attempting suicide by jumping off a ledge, and Ash’s comical yet deep storytelling led her to find a sense of peace. 

In another scene, senior Samantha Tiberi effortlessly released an ora of aggression and strong emotions while playing Holly, wife of the mayor. Her character faced the dilemma of recognizing her husband had been having an affair with another woman, as well as dealing with the pain of Gaia’s expulsion. Her husband, Clay, played by senior Riley Flynn, was able to match the energy released by Tiberi. Flynn stayed collected, affirmative, and compassionate toward his wife who he had wronged. 

Personally I give this play a glowing review. The hard work and clear dedication of every member was evident. Collectively I would applaud every cast and crew member for their excellent work and portrayal of “Bethel Park Falls”. I look forward to attending EC Theater’s next show. 

Congratulations to all!

This article was updated on 11/23/21