The Giver gives Eagles a great adaptation.


Travis Robertson

The cast of The Giver appears for the audience at the end of the play. Photo by: Travis Robertson.

Travis Robertson, Hard News/Online Editor

The moment The Giver ended and the cast took their bows, I found myself in shock and screaming to see what happens next.

The theatre department had a huge weight to carry with this adaptation as it could either recapture the magic of the novel or join the 2014 film in the forgotten realm of mediocrity. Luckily, sitting in the quiet theatre as each creative memory sequence, convincing performance and emotional scene played out it, was clear that magic was in the air.

The Giver is the theatre department’s fall play based on the 1993 novel by Lois Lowry and is adapted by Eric Coble. It premiered Thursday in the main auditorium and will show again Friday and Saturday.

The Giver is about a boy named Jonas (Christopher Ackerman) who lives in a future that has eliminated choice and diversity. Every person looks and acts the same until a ceremony where Jonas is named receiver of memories, leading to a person called The Giver (Jasmine Amoako-Agyei) giving Jonas memories of what the once great world used to be like, and Jonas finds himself conflicted on how to handle them.

The Giver (1993) achieved many accolades, including the 1994 Newberry Medal, however the 2014 film adaptation received mediocre reviews and left fans of the novel with a sour taste in their mouths.

The theatres performance of  The Giver is an excellent adaptation that fans of the novel and fans of great storytelling can find something to cherish. From scene one, you’re sucked right into this universe where everything is dull and the same, except at the same time everything isn’t. It’s fascinating seeing this universe play out and how characters develop throughout.

The Giver is a very mature story for a high school play, teaching lessons about what we take for granted, but also social commentary on our society as a whole and what we could become if we don’t allow for diversity and imperfections to exist in this world.

Being it actually takes the time to tell a good story some people may be turned off and find it boring, and say it “put them to sleep” but that’s precisely what made The Giver so great. It’s not a typical sci-fi story that keeps you entertained throughout, it’s a mature story that respects the audience enough for them to pay attention and actually think for themselves.

The ending is a prime example of this, being it’s ambiguous and doesn’t exactly wrap everything up in a neat little bow, but asks the audience to put the conclusion together in their own minds. Some people may be turned off, but I found it to be a perfect conclusion.

As for the performances, all the actors of the main cast brought their A-game, with Ackerman as Jonas, Amoako-Agyei as The Giver, and Hanna Shaffer as Lily being the standouts. Ackerman really sold the emotions a person in his position would feel for experiencing the wonders of our modern world, Amoako-Agyei portrays a moral guidance role for Jonas well, and Shaffer is thoroughly entertaining as Jonas’ cutesy sister.

The technical aspect of this play was also excellent, the different color schemes that appear combined with the beautiful music during the memory sequences make for a magical experience that wouldn’t have been the same if so much time wasn’t put in from the tech crews.

As for negatives, they are few but the opening scene is a projector video with stock footage of Earth’s history and I loved the idea, but unfortunately at times it was difficult to comprehend being the screen was so big. Also, audience immersion is slightly broken with the fact that during this clip the pause and fast forward/rewind buttons can be slightly visible at the bottom.

The Giver is an adaptation that fans of the novel and newcomers can appreciate with superb acting, tech and storytelling. It has few flaws, the only being the messy opening, but if you appreciate a smart, mature, well put together story then you will love The Giver.

The Giver shows again Friday at 7:00 P.M, and Saturday at 2:30 P.M and 7:00 P.M.