Review: Round House Theatre's SPRING BREAK A Testament to Youthful Ingenuity

What’s beautiful about this show is the way that these students are in complete control of all the design elements. 

By: Mar. 20, 2024
Review: Round House Theatre's SPRING BREAK A Testament to Youthful Ingenuity
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Many of us have incredible memories of our first time working in a theater production; some of us preferred the stage and the warm glow of the lights, while others preferred hanging the lights, and running the cues from the confines of whatever passed for a tech booth (broom closets, anyone?).  As a house-proud product of the HB Woodlawn program, I can point to a number of classmates who went onto brilliant careers, on and off the stage.  And it all started when we were geeky teenagers who weren’t the least bit interested in that pickup football game on back campus.

For family and friends who gathered at Round House Theatre to watch the latest crop of high school talent working on and offstage in Joe Calarco’s Spring Break, it was a chance to cheer on young people who have worked hard to create a compelling afternoon’s entertainment, both visually inventive and dramatically potent.  And for those of us who grew up in and around the stage, it’s a warm reminder of how invaluable the theater remains, even in an age of streaming services and social media.

Calarco has made a point of working with young people in developing this script, to make sure that the language—right down to the ‘ums’ and ‘ers’—sounds right, like something an actual high-schooler might actually say.  What we have as a result is a down-to-earth, and because down-to-earth truly compelling, series of scenes from one school’s senior year.  That angst-ridden time when some are terrified of what comes next, some can’t wait to get out, while others try to zone out and go Buddhist or something.

You have the student-athletes, some who feel pressure to work for that college scholarship, while others hate the way people only like them when they’re on the field.  You have the moody, poetry-reading one, who isn’t nearly as remote and above-it-all as you might think, the thick eyeliner notwithstanding.  You have the awkward ones, who have no idea what a relationship might be like, no idea what it’s even like to hold hands—people we know, people we are (if you’re in high school), and people we once were (if you’re a bit older).

The cast works its magic through a kind of tag-team sequence of scenes, with recurring characters; and in a nod to the question of gender identity, there is one actor who shifts from male to female (by means of a loose sweatshirt, revealing a bra strap); a reminder for the elders that young people have already dealt with the question of identity, and haven’t got nearly the issues with it that we think they do.

What’s beautiful about this show is the way that these students are in complete control of all the design elements.  Stand-outs include Eve Cintron’s costume designs, projecting personalities in instantly recognizable ways, and Sophomore Ana Ewachiw, who creates some wonderful projections to illustrate and support the action onstage; her water-color splashes draw you into the action. 

Round House Theatre has created programs like this in loving memory of Sarah Metzger, a remarkable talent taken from us way too soon, and all of the students here have honored her memory, and shown how they can master their respective crafts and pull together a remarkable program.  Kudos to all!

Production Photo: The cast of Spring Break at Round House Theatre. Presented by the Teen Performance Company. Photo courtesy of Round House Theatre.

Running Time: 1 hour, with no intermission.

Round House Theatre’s Youth Program is based at its theater at 4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD.  For more information about their education program, visit: