By Emilee Davis-North Star Reporter Intern
“The Outsiders is about two weeks in the life of a 14-year-old boy. The play tells the story of Ponyboy Curtis and his struggles with right and wrong in a society in which he believes that he is an outsider.”
This is how Jillian Gabriel, director of the North Attleborough Theater Company and a teacher, described this weekend’s production of “The Outsiders.”
According to Gabriel, the students selected the play in the spring, having enjoyed reading the book as eighth graders and remembering that the high school performed the stage version 10 years ago.
“They wanted to bring it back to the stage this year as the characters really resonated with them when they read the script,” Gabriel said.
“The Outsiders” was written by S.E. Hinton, published in 1967, and was later turned into a movie directed by Francis Ford Coppola in 1983. The story follows a group of youths known as the Greasers, specifically Ponyboy Curtis, as they face the reality of being looked down upon in 1960s Oklahoma. The play, however, is not exactly the same as the original book.
“The play is a little different than the book; the character arcs are very similar but some of the plot events are changed a little bit,” said Gabriel. “The essence of the book is to highlight the struggles of adolescence, which is captured quite well in the play.”
Last fall, play the theater company did a production of “Clue,” a comedic mystery. According to Gabriel, they wanted to do another popular show this year, but with a more dramatic feeling.
Meet the cast
Aiden Moebius, who plays the role of Ponyboy, said his character is a very kind, but troubled. He added that Ponyboy is more thoughtful than others and struggles to fit in with the rest of the Greasers.
“I really liked going through the book and watching the movie,” he said. “I also would go through the script and read the notes that the writer used to help me present the lines correctly with the right emotion and intention.”
For cast member Neil Sarkar, getting into character as Two-Bit Matthews wasn’t a big issue.
“I don’t really have to get in character for Two-Bit as he is very similar to how I act in real life,” Neil said. “That’s the reason why I auditioned for him.”
Similarly, Nicole Donato also felt like she was really able to relate to her character.
“Cherry is a really important character to me,” she said. “When I first read this book in eighth grade, I remember liking her a lot and relating to her in some aspects. I think she’s just the kind of person I want to be: open-minded, caring, and not afraid to stand up for what she believes in.”
Kyle Augustus found ways to apply his own life to Darry Curtis, the older brother of Ponyboy. He said Darry has lost a lot, first starting with his parents and then his youth
“When someone loses such a friendship it feels like you lose someone who’s part of you,” Augustus said. “This knowledge can be used to understand how Darry must feel when he lost his parents.”
Ashley Candelet and Alexandra Nikou are playing best friends Bob Sheldon and Randy Adderson, respectively. Candelet got into character by talking to castmates for advice on how to act certain ways. She also recalled the events and the way the characters in the original story are portrayed.
For Nikou, the process was a bit different.
“I usually get into character pretty much by imagining myself as a frat boy from the 1960s,” Nikou said. “That’s basically my character anyway.”
The cast working in the NAHS theater was a positive experience. Moebius described, “We work together really well. We are all friends so it’s really nice to collaborate with them to make something special.”
Candelet and Sarkar felt that the cast helps one another. Candelet said they work collaboratively and treat each other well.
Sarkar described the crew by saying, “We are always trying to help each other out, whether it’s helping each other memorize lines, or reminding people what time to go on.”
Donato has been with the theater company since her freshman year of high school and loves the environment between everyone on set.
“We are all genuinely good friends, and this show has made many of us even closer. I think that’s extremely helpful for our chemistry on stage,” said Donato. “We are understanding with each other and help each other improve, as well as praise each other for a job well done. It’s just such a supportive environment all around.”
The NAHS Theater Company will be putting on their production of “The Outsiders,” Friday Nov. 4 and Saturday, Nov. 5 in the NAHS Theater at 7 p.m.