Just came back from seeing The Outlier Effect, a one-act play written and performed by Weston High School’s Theater Company. That’s right: not only performed by them, but also written by them. Collaboration by a mere two authors is difficult enough, so collaboration by a large group must be truly daunting. But this was a notably successful effort, avoiding any feeling that it was written by a committee. The writing, the production, and the acting were all excellent. Because there was a 40-minute limit imposed by the state drama festival, the timing and the structure had to be tight. The entire play felt compact and taut without being rushed.
The plot of the play was unusual for a high-school production, though it would seem familiar to anyone who has taken a college psychology course. Playing with the tension between research and clinical psychology, and delving into ethical issues concerning the use of human subjects, The Outlier Effect provided food for thought along with considerable humor. Maddie Redlick was particularly effective as a researcher with a preteen son suffering from PTSD, ably portrayed by Todd Elfman. A cast of 15 other students did a fine job as well. All in all, an ambitious effort that was more than competently executed.