Cappies Review of Long Division by Langley High School

By Communication and Community Relations
April 06, 2021

Fairfax County Public Schools students are talented actors, musicians, and visual artists. Many FCPS high schools participate in the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Critics and Awards Program for High School Theatre, otherwise known as the Cappies.

The Cappies is a program through which high school theater and journalism students are trained as critics, attend shows at other schools, write reviews, and publish those reviews in local newspapers. There are fifteen Cappies chapters across the United States and Canada. 

The Cappies continues this year with virtual performances. Students learning through the theatre arts is as important as ever. Most performances this year are written by students and are available to watch on the Cappies website. Some performances do require a fee to view online.   

Editor's Note: This review of Langley High School's virtual production of Long Division is written by Lauren Katz of Lake Braddock Secondary School. You can watch Long Division at the link below. 

Global pandemic. Political polarization. Racism. It has been a hard year for the world, especially those who are still growing up. The isolation and unrest felt by a generation are hard to put into words, but that's just what Langley High School's theatre company did.

Long Division, Langley High School's documentary-style production, detailed the struggles that many of their students, as well as the world as a whole, have experienced in the past few years through anecdotal sequences, brief scenes, and voice-overs. All student-written and -performed, these scenes brought a deeply personal inside look into what people are going through and created a sense of unity that is rare in these divided times.

A show that covers such serious issues could never lift off the ground without a strong cast of actors driving the performance. It's rare to see such a large cast so uniform in their care taken to tell stories with honesty and passion, but the ensemble cast pulled it off with the impressive attention paid to every detail. One of the most heartfelt anecdotes in the show was when Lindsay Muangman spoke about her parents' dedication to their work as essential medical workers when the pandemic broke out. Muangman's serious nature combined with her natural storytelling abilities made her anecdote one of the most powerful in the show.  

Another voice that evoked such raw emotion was that of Conard Racich. During the COVID-19 section of the show, there was a part meant to display the monotony of everyday life in quarantine. Racich's vocal performance helped perfectly encapsulate the feeling and truly demonstrate the impact quarantining had on teenagers. Racich, along with the rest of the voice actors in the cast, did a great job of defining a scene. All the voice acting sequences were done with impressive clarity, as physicality was not an option for those who voice acted. The voice acting tied the show together nicely and provided smooth transitions throughout.

It is not possible to talk about the smooth flow of the show, and the constant engagement that came along with watching, without addressing the editing of the show. The show was edited by Conard Racich and Elizabeth Tippens, and the videos were compiled by Celeste Deale. The quick cuts between stories, the perfect pauses between segments, and the beautiful images and videos shown during voice-over scenes ensured the show was paced well and helped further add impact to the show. Some of the voice-overs were even edited to have a voice effect, which brought another dimension to the production. The editing was well executed, quick-paced, and done on almost a professional level, a refreshing rarity in high school theatre.

The play as a whole could not have been timelier. The careful attention paid to the details that reflected the ongoing issues in the world made this production especially realistic and raw. The maturity displayed by actors and the cathartic nature of the writing brought forward a show that was satisfying to watch and emotionally rejuvenating. The hard work put in by the cast and crew of Long Division shined a light not only on the reality of world issues that people face every day, but also the unity that is still possible in these trying times.