Oakland Mills High School
9410 Kilimanjaro Road
Columbia, MD 21045
Teach Me How to Cry
Tickets are $10.00 at the door
Thursday Nov. 11 - 7PM
Friday Nov. 12 - 7PM
Saturday Nov. 13 - 7PM
Sunday Nov. 14 - 2PM
Have you ever felt that no one truly understands you? That you have to show the world a falsely happy persona to gain acceptance? Oakland Mills High School’s Production of Teach Me How to Cry conveyed the emotional trauma that teens go through, bringing to light issues as relevant now as they were to the play’s 1960 setting.
Melinda Grant is teen girl living with her slightly scatter-brained mother, Mrs. Grant. Melinda has a carefully constructed façade that she wears to protect her mother from knowing how unhappy she really is. When Will, a sensitive boy who wants to be a writer despite the reservations of his parents, moves in, Melinda finds a friend she can confide in. Throughout the show, Melinda’s growing relationship with Will helps her to gain the confidence she needs to face the world and play the lead in her school’s production of Romeo and Juliet.
Teach Me How to Cry was a moving piece, powerful and thought-provoking. What anchored the production were a very creative use of pathetic fallacy, and the character-revealing and differentiating acting choices of the leads.
Jenna Pekofsky played the lead role of Melinda Grant, displaying extraordinary depth of character. Melinda became a real and relatable person through Pekofsky’s portrayal of how Melinda would change her tone of voice depending on who she was interacting with. Adam Vaughn, as Will Henderson, put on an enjoyable performance, exhibiting charm, sensitivity, and optimism.
A supporting character of note was Rebecca Martinez-Griewe, as Melinda’s mother, Mrs. Grant. Martinez-Griewe demonstrated her character’s insecurities through her elusive responses to queries regarding her wedding, and added a more light-hearted element to the play. Additionally, Polly Fisher, played by Kate Bailey, stood out as flirtatious and narcissistic, boldly distinguishing her character from the rest of the cast.
This production featured superb sound and lighting that added to the mood of some of the most dramatic and important scenes. The tech crew’s simulation of rain, lightning, and thunder, greatly increased the effectiveness of the more emotional parts of the play. The set was also artistically crafted to suit the feel, and period, of the play. The homes of the Hendersons and the Grants reflected the personalities of the families, and the image that they wanted to show to their community. The Grant home served to exemplify Mrs. Grant’s desire to keep “the rain” out, and the Henderson home revealed their unhappiness with their social status.
Some of the most real problems, like depression and the destructive nature of gossip, are enduring, allowing us much to learn from a play first performed in 1955 and set only five years later in this performance. Oakland Mills High School’s fall production of the rather obscure, Teach Me How to Cry, left audiences inspired and moved by the expert rendering of the unique, timeless, and brutally realistic show.