Review: Dominion High School’s ‘Fortress’

By Sarah Zakreski of Fairfax High School

Superman and Lois Lane have each other and Billy and Kim have each other. Everyone needs someone to depend on. At its core, “Fortress.” performed by Dominion High School, was a captivating show which explored the combination of friendship, malice, and growing up.

Fortress is a 30-minute one-act, written by Michael Scanlan along with students of LaSalle Academy from 1986 to 1987. The story follows two children, Billy and Kim, who are seniors in high school but have grown up with each other since they were five. When Billy was 9, he found out he was adopted and has had trouble with his father ever since. Kim’s father died when she was young. The two bonded over their love of Superman and their troubled home lives, yet they were not always friends and were often enemies throughout their school days. As they grew up, the two learned about the importance of friendship and being there for each other. 

The play was led by Maguire Crowe as Billy. Crowe embodied Billy with truthful and authentic emotion that showed his character. Crowe’s character required him to play a range of ages, which he did convincingly. Working alongside Crowe was Lareina Allred, playing Kim. Allred was expressive in her character and stood out with her high energy and effective emotional connection. This showed most in scenes with her monologues.  In addition, Crowe and Allred exhibited strong chemistry, which was showcased in throughout the show, but especially in the scenes where they were fighting. Another standout performance was given by Aaron Haak, who played Herb, Billy’s adoptive father. Haak, grew with his emotions throughout the show and grew angrier and angrier throughout his scenes with Billy. The entire ensemble (Aaron Haak, Ella Greer, Chase Bochenek, Sara Banks) aided in portraying the setting, in scenes such as Billy’s birthday, where they played candles. This enhanced the scenes without creating too much of a distraction. Furthermore, the ensemble was all committed to the characters and showed incredible range. 

The technical elements in this show were highly successful. The lighting, designed by Andrew Joyner, helped aid in the storytelling. During the car crash scene, the lights blacked out, which added suspense to the outcome of the crash. The lights dimmed during more intense scenes as well. The stage manager, Logan Downes, kept the show running smoothly and without interruption. 

The dedication and enthusiasm that each member of Dominion High School’s theater department brought to the show created an impeccable production of “Fortress” that was enjoyable to all who watched. 

[This review of the May 15 performance at Dominion High School is part of a series published in a partnership between Loudoun Now and The Cappies, a writing and awards program that trains high school theater and journalism students to be expert writers, critical thinkers, and leaders.]

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