McLean High School’s Production of Airness

Poster advertising the play (Credit: McLean High School)

Poster advertising the play (Credit: McLean High School)

Eleanor Shaw

Within the walls of McLean High School, an enthralling, heart pounding, and totally radical air guitar epic awaits you. Prepare to bear witness to gnarly showdowns and heartwarming reconciliations as our beloved cast fights for the crown of air guitar champion in McClean’s production and rendition of the Airness

During this battle to hold the title of National Air Guitar Champion, we follow our beloved group of musical misfits– Nina, Shreddy Eddie, Golden Thunder, Facebender, and Cannibal Queen–as they travel from city to city, battling for a seat in the championship. However, things don’t go smoothly as the prior year’s champion, D Vicious, arrives on the scene to stir up trouble.

Among these characters, Arielle Else shines as Golden Thunder, a quirky goofball fighting for change. Else masterfully deliver’s on Golden Thunder’s wild mannerisms and wild tendencies, bringing a comedic edge to the show. Providing balance to our core ensemble, Jack Abba’s Facebender grounds these characters’ journey. A performance full of emotion, Abba brings to life Facebender’s compassionate character, packing the performance full of heart, as made evident through the character’s moving monologue in the second act.

This fantastical journey is brought to life by the concert-esque lighting and projections as well as the exciting inclusion of fog machines, all courtesy of the outstanding Alessandro Martinat-Pilhaca, Scott Fulker, JT Fulkerson, and Colleen Coerr. The Rockstar atmosphere is gripping and leaves the audience on the edge of their seats as performers shred away at their instruments made of raw enthusiasm (and air). Beyond the opportunities during which the audience is granted a look at the compelling air guitar performances, lighting continued to be cleverly utilized to communicate space, the passage of time, and the inner worlds of characters. The creativity and versatility of the lighting is enchanting to see.

The immersive experience continued to engulf the audience through the brilliant set design, meticulously and lovingly crafted by the MHS set, set decoration, and paint crews.. Each corner of the set is full of detail, from bottlecap designs lining the walls, signatures adorning tables, dollar bills, and various decorative objects, to a functioning bar serving (root) beer.

Emerging from a period in which theater performances were impossible, McLean High School’s Airness is a triumphant production, seamlessly unifying technical elements and acting to weave a story of heartbreak, triumph, and finding the music within ourselves.