The insane and the riches of The Curious Savage


Celeste Lira

After Dr. Emmett, portrayed by senior Javier Navarro, allows Ethel P. Savage, portrayed by senior Justina Clark, to leave The Cloisters Asylum, Mrs. Savage begins the think about the other residents of The Cloisters and debates whether or not to leave during the production in the theater on Jan. 8. Mrs. Savage decided to leave and pursue her plan to help “average” people reach their goals.

Gabriela Sanchez, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Downey High School’s Drama Production presented The Curious Savage on Jan.18., a play originally written by John Patrick, that sent the audience to the simpler times of, the 1950s. The comedic play evoked laughter and emotion when a wealthy widow, Ethel P. Savage, Justina Clark, is placed in an institution and meets five other patients, each with their own quirks and personalities.

Audience member George Estephan, 11, an audience member shared his thoughts on the production.

“There was a lot of effort, the lights and music were awesome and I really have to commend the lead role, she really got into character,” Estephan said. “overall, great performance.”

The production introduces the audience to five interesting characters, all housed in a psychiatric home. There is Florence, a quiet and mature woman, seemingly sane and normal but she has a child who is apparently a toy. The loud and attention craving Fairy, played by Yaelly Santana, is obsessed with being beautiful and wants to be loved by all. Marco Arroyo recreates Jeff, a former pianist with a hand constantly fixated over his right cheek, trying to hide a “hideous” scar that is only visible by him. Ms. Paddy played my Brianna Ruelas is a woman who refuses to speak and only recites the things she hates most in the world. Hannibal played by Daniela Gonzalez is the intelligent lover of the music, and plays the violin poorly, despite her own belief.

Justina Clark, 12, gives life to the lead role, Ethel P. Savage. Praised for her outstanding performance and never falling short of impressive, she describes how she was able to get into character.

“I watched a lot of fifties movies and my dad is older, so I talked to him about my character too,” Clark says.

Ethel P. Savage, is introduced into the play. She is an elderly woman with a large teddy bear stuck to her side at all times. After inheriting a ten million dollar treasure from her dead husband Ethel’s stepchildren, Titus and Lily Belle, place her in a psychiatric ward because their mother refuses to tell them where the riches are hidden.

The plot thickens when the audience and other characters realize that Savage has turned the fortune into bonds, and hidden them in her teddy bear. The widow places them on the table and shows the stepchildren the riches. Suddenly, the lights turn off. Ms. Paddy has shut them off out of the blue, as she often does. The lights resume and the bonds have disappeared. They all becomes suspicious of Ms. Paddy, but she does not have the important papers on her. As they search everyone for the valuables, Fairy begins to yell about a fire in the bathtub, but no one believes the obnoxious girl. Once they discover the fire is real, Miss Willie, the manager of the psychiatric ward, uncovers what seem to be burned bonds, smothered to ashes.

Everyone is shocked, especially Lily Belle and Titus, the old woman’s stepchildren. They are traumatized that their fortune is gone forever, so they decide to leave. After the money is thought to be gone, there is no longer a need for Savage to stay, so she decides to go as well and leave everything behind. As they all say their final goodbyes, Miss Willie approaches Savage with the bonds. She tells her that she started the fire but only burned one bond to create an illusion. As the final scene creeps near, it ends with an image in Savage’s mind. She pictures Fairy, happy and beautiful, Hannibal playing the violin perfectly, Jeff playing the piano without a hand fixated to his face, Miss Willie watching over, Miss Paddy painting beautiful art, and Florence playing with a real child.

The Drama Production successfully portrayed the quirky and fun theme of the play, producing an enjoyable show. The audience enjoyed the performances including Julie Sanfelippo,11, who attended the play’s premiere and enjoyed all the extravagant characters up on stage.

“The entire play was really interesting, they all did an amazing job,” Sanfelippo said. “I really liked Fairy’s [Yaelly Santana] role. She was funny and bubbly, definitely my favorite of the night.”

The viewers picked their favorites of the play and along with a solid story line, heartwarming moments filled with laughter and joy were experienced throughout the night.