Teen heartbreak is laugh-out-loud funny

Max Jonas-Knaver and Devon Arabia

The Staggering Heartbreak of Jasmine Meriwether, by Don Zolidas, is a dramatic story about the first time 17-year-old Jasmine Merriwether falls in love. Jasmine (Agnes Navaratne,11) is a crazy, hormonal teenage girl whose most vulnerable inner thoughts are expressed as asides with the audience. Navaratne is a tour de force, fully committing to intimate moments with her new found love, Brendan (Aidan Epstein, 12) and evoking pure teen angst in nearly every other moment.

Brendan, the typical teenage boy acting like he wants something when in the end, he doesn’t, is portrayed by Epstein perfectly. Together, Epstein and Navaratne had a great personal, emotional reaction to one another; they get close, they seem to actually be together as if they’ve created this real life, emotional experience for the audience.

One of the most engaging aspects of the one-act is the invention of interpretive dancers who choreograph a modern interpretation of Jasmine’s inner conflicts. In the most meta way, Jasmine is not only aware of the dancers, she breaks the fourth wall and interacts with the audience, explaining the dancers themselves as a part of her inner turmoil.

The dancers (Hannah Kimmett, 11 and Severn Belmond, 12) are on fire on stage. Belmond lifts and tosses Kimmett in an incredibly physical performance. When they aren’t dancing, the duo stays in the character, even when their characters are scene extras in the ISS room where Jasmine finds herself after going postal on Brendan in science class.

This one act has been the best play that Manitou Springs High School has ever brought to the one act competition. The perfect casting made this story believable and realistic to the feelings of every average teenager.

You have one more chance to see the show this Saturday at 6 p.m. in the district auditorium.