Diverging from standard three-dimensional plays, Westmont Theatre’s production of A Wrinkle in Time revolutionizes the bounds of a fictional world. Played by the amazing junior Kaylie Montoya, our inspiring thirteen-year-old protagonist Meg is determined to find her missing father, no matter where he might be. To achieve such an insurmountable task, Meg requires the help of her brother, Charles Wallace, newfound friend Calvin, and three magical women: Mrs Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which. Trapped on a foreign planet and imprisoned by a mysteriously eerie “It,” Meg’s father can only be reached through the act of “tessering” (traveling through a fifth dimensional space). Mrs. Whatsit captures the notion of inter-dimensional travel perfectly, cleverly explaining, “You might say we wrinkle.”
Make no mistake of neglecting the unnamed roles in Wrinkle; the show’s ensemble is the glue to the entire show. Powerful, synchronized, and beautifully abstract, the group plays a crucial part conveying the mysticality of the production. The brilliant twenty one actors and actresses work together to move as one, transforming to represent Meg’s thoughts, the evil “It,” or even the physical setting: swaying vines, or a hilarious speaking kitchen table (played by Ethan Li). I am particularly blown away by the devotion of Kaleb Ma and Brian Vallejo. One pivotal member, Shelly Yoffe, plays a newspaper boy on the planet of Camazotz, where “It” lies. Through monotonous speech and robotic movement, Yoffe convincingly illustrates the chilling essence of the shadowy planet’s mindless inhabitants.
To call lead Kaylie Montoya talented would be an enormous understatement. As Meg, she wonderfully encapsulates teenage angst and insecurity, and you can’t help but feel what she feels. Montoya is a force to be reckoned with. Her mighty spirit propels the show.
Furthermore, Meg’s sarcastic younger brother Charles Wallace, though arrogantly intelligent, loves his sister and parents deeply. As Wallace, Sohum Baluja shines. His confident presence and witty delivery of his lines makes him a natural onstage. Only a sophomore, Baluja should expect great success going forward, and I am excited to see what he has to offer in future productions.
Raising the two marvelous children, Mother Mika Shahar and Father Zachary Kessler do a superb job. Shahar’s composure and overall attitude onstage delights me everytime I watch her perform. Meanwhile, the passionate Kessler has a vigor that empowers his character. I have known these two as performers for years now, and neither of them have ever failed to impress me. Although I was not familiar with sophomore Jonah Martinez beforehand, it is my pleasure to watch him as Meg’s kind and loyal friend Calvin. His mannerisms and expressions excellently portray the goodness of Calvin, and he is a joy to watch onstage.
Now let’s talk about senior Raven Carthon. From her entrance as Mrs. Whatsit, Carthon entrances the audience. After only seconds of the actress being on stage, a captivated girl who sat behind me said what we were all thinking, quietly uttering, “Oh my god, I love her.” With her animated, lively presence, Carthon carries an energy you cannot help but adore. Carthon is absolutely sensational. There is no other way to put it.
Both playing quite whimsical characters, Nisitha Kakulapati (Mrs. Who) and Sadie Evans (Mrs. Which) move incredibly gracefully. Evans’s smooth, tranquil tone of voice effectively creates her calm and composed character, and Kakulapati has a unique charm about her that I have always admired.
Moreover, Shiloh Martinez as the Red Eyed-Man undeniably petrifies his audience. My good friend Anjali Nayak and I can both attest that we got chills upon Martinez’s entrance. His malicious laugh combined with his intimidating delivery make for a picturesque antagonist.
Siddalee Urzua plays another fascinating character, Happy Medium. Importantly showing Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin the urgency of their mission, Urzua’s character is a rock for the show’s plot line.
Moving forward, I was in awe of Assistant Director Sarah Ruebenson who also plays the loving and warm Aunt Beast. Multi-talented, Ruebenson clearly did a fantastic job in her behind the scenes role, but her extraordinary singing voice stood out to me most. She epitomizes the beauty of A Wrinkle in Time.
Last, but most certainly not least, the comprehensive work of the production team shines in this show. The seemingly simple set designed by Matine Nejad works in a remarkably complex way, from the grand moving platforms to the mesmerizing decorative lights. Her work combined with striking choreography promotes constant audience engagement.
I loved each and every costume, especially the vibrant ones of the more magical characters, like Mrs. Whatsit or Mrs. Who; Costume Designer Ashley Gomez Servin created intricate works of art when making the cast’s clothing. Additionally, the lighting design, credit to Noella Thu, adds a special element to the show that I could not imagine missing. Of course, one must not overlook Technical Director James Harper, who plays a critical role backstage, as well as Anna Genna as Assistant Stage Manager. I hold in high regard the work of Director Jeff Bengford and all others I did not mention.
All involved with Westmont Theatre’s A Wrinkle in Time deserve immense praise, and I strongly encourage those who have not yet seen it to buy tickets for this weekend! As always, I am thoroughly impressed with the dedication of Westmont Theatre.