The official student news site of Norristown Area High School

The Wingspan

The official student news site of Norristown Area High School

The Wingspan

The official student news site of Norristown Area High School

The Wingspan

‘The Collective’ Leans Into Creativity and Strong Performances

The Norristown High School Drama Club Thrives in Winter Production

As director Tinuke Oyefule walks onto stage with the cast of “The Collective,” she eases their anxiety before their warm-up. Oyefule has a hard rule of no self-hate speech in the theater. Her voice calms the actors and crew as they turn their attention towards her. She gave them a pep talk that was so inspiring, it even lifted me.  Oyefule tells the cast how proud she is of all the work they have put into the show, and even though this is her last show at NAHS, she cannot believe how much the cast has grown. Oyefule is genuine and speaks from the heart.  She is eager to let the cast show off their talents. 

Performed on Jan. 29 for two separate shows, “The Collective ” is a collection of songs, poems, and monologues, some adapted from other plays and some written by the students themselves.  This performance highlighted the differences that we all have and showed the beauty in those differences. The monologues and songs performed all had the central idea that even though there are hard times, we will still strive. Performances about love, hate, regret, and joy guide the audience through the hardships of life that many people face. The production shows a sense of community. 

A NAHS alum herself, Oyefule has a love for the community and a passion to give life to the NAHS drama club. She greets each student by name and genuinely wants to know about their day. Oyefule was in the drama club during her high school years and holds a special place in her heart for the performing arts. She strives for students to know what it takes to be in the public eye and how hard it truly is. Oyefule wants to be a person who is open and honest about the public eye while performing. 

“I’d like to be able to tell someone who’s in the seat I was in a while ago, what it’s like to actually make that happen because I think with seeing people get TikTok famous, famous in general, what seems overnight. There isn’t often a light shown on the process and the how,” said Oyefule 

Under Oyefule’s guidance, each cast member individually picked each song, poem, and scene they would perform. The production was a group effort from the actors to the crew, everyone had a part in the show. Students helped each other learn lines and offered constructive criticism where needed. The drama club is full of diversity and has been a place for students to find themselves in the hectic nature of high school. 

“I appreciate the variety of cultures in one space when you come to Norristown,” said Oyefule 

Each song drove this point home and originated from Broadway, to Disney, and even Tyler The Creator, which caught me off guard. From the outside, the song selection may seem like a hodgepodge of random songs thrown together, but it was much more than that. The show showed a sense of community and how everyone should feel the emotions they need to feel.  It was a performance that the whole drama club put together and that’s what makes all the songs fit together. 

Alexandra Carpenter and Rafael Avelino-Castillo stood out with the ability to turn a simple set into a live show and gave me chills. Carpenter performed a Monologue from “Theory of Relativity” with so much emotion that I saw Carpenter become the character, so consumed by mental illness. The way she was able to deliver the true feeling of anxiety made me go through all her emotions with her is something I want to experience over and over again. 

Avelino-Castillo performed “Thanatophobia”, a monologue he wrote himself about the feeling of falling out of love. He was the only one on stage and yet I could feel the tension between him and a partner who was drifting away. Avelino-Castillo was able to go through the emotions of anger, sadness, and pride flawlessly. I was amazed and I could see the makings of a great actor. After high school, Avelino-Castillo still has so much performing and I know he will go far with his talents. 

Along with their monologues, the songs performed by Haylie Jost and Brandon Zuniga took me right onto the “La La Land” set with their tap performance of “A Lovely Night”. Jost and Zuniga have a chemistry that transfers well to the stage. However, Riley Logan’s performance of  “I’m The Greatest Star” from the show  “Funny Girl” especially stood out to me. As someone who has seen “Funny Girl” on Broadway, I can say that Logan’s performance fits right in with the Broadway performers. 

I specifically want to mention performer Jetta Reynolds, who performed songs  from “Heathers” and “The Greatest Showman.” Both songs she chose highlight the voice range she possesses. Reynolds truly knows how to capture a room with her voice. I  hope that she goes into a performing career because I want everyone to feel the chills and the excitement I felt during her performance. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time, clinging to her every note. 

Constantly throughout the whole show, I had to remind myself that these are only high school students, not seasoned actors. From the opening scene given by Makyla Harell to the ending poem performed by all the seniors, which did have me tearing up, I just wanted more. This performance shows how beautiful the performing arts are. All people can get something out of seeing community theater. Go out and support local arts. It means so much to the performers and overall supporting a passion project pays off.

Story continues below advertisement
View Comments (1)
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Hope Rose Mauch
Hope Rose Mauch, Editor-in-Chief
Hope Rose Mauch, a junior at Norristown, has been writing for the Wingspan since their freshman year, and this is their second year as the editor-in-chief. Along with writing for the paper, Hope is a cheerleader for the school.

Comments (1)

All The Wingspan Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • R

    Ronette JonesFeb 23, 2024 at 2:53 pm

    All of the actors and stage hands were dynamic!
    Keep honing your craft –