Everyone knows that high school, like, totally sucks.
Whether you’re fresh out of the institution or just celebrated your fiftieth reunion, “Victoria Martin: Math Team Queen” is a relatable joyride through everything from social struggles to learning how to drive. By the time you leave the Mondanaro Theater, you’ll be reminiscing about your own high school successes, first kisses and exactly what it meant to find yourself.
Opening the performing arts department’s winter season, “Victoria Martin: Math Team Queen” was written by dramatic writing professor Kathryn Walat. The show opened off Broadway in 2007 and has steadily been performed across the country.
Victoria Martin is the third most popular sophomore at Longwood High. She has good looks, a basketball-playing senior boyfriend and is friends with the two most popular cheerleaders, both appropriately named Jen. She has everything until involuntarily finding herself on the math team to avoid detention.
“In a struggle to decide if her new-found talent and passion for math is worth the possible damage to her social standing, Victoria must decide who she really is and what kind of person she wants to be,” Walat said. “It’s the story of figuring out who you are and how you want to be … but also one that we come up against again and again in our lives.”
With second-year performing arts major Gina Hughes in the title role, Victoria is high-spirited, sassy and unafraid to tell the math geeks just how low on the social food chain they are.
Hughes takes control of the stage with her fearless performance. From the first moments of the show, to her demise into math team queen, Hughes dives right into her character. The internal conflicts Victoria’s character experiences are effortlessly laid out on stage for everyone to see, and I am once again impressed with her versatility and undaunted acting style.
Opposite of Victoria are the Longwood High School math team: Franklin, Max, Jimmy and Peter. Second-year performing arts major James Edwards plays Peter, the senior math team president. Edwards subtle embracing of his crush on Victoria has you rooting for the nerd.
Strong performances from the rest of the cast include second-year performing arts major Will Swisher playing momma’s boy Jimmy, second-year performing arts major Ian Mather in the role of Franklin, and third-year performing arts major Ryan Ortega as Max, the secret apple of Franklin’s eye, despite their inseparable friendship since the third grade.
With such a small cast it is easy to see how the weeks of rehearsal paid off. Each cast member managed to develop a distinct, unique relationship with each other, showing the audience their individual effects on the storyline. Hughes and Edwards are a perfect pairing, seamlessly expressing the awkward tension that happens when opposites fall for one another.
A light-hearted comedy, the show is campy to say the least. With Walat’s exaggerated high-school speech and teen themes, the show is directed at a younger audience. Despite this, “Victoria Martin: Math Team Queen” is an enjoyable tryst through high school struggles. Whether you ate lunch at the popular table or alone in a bathroom stall, you’ll leave the theater, like, totally fulfilled.