The S.A.T., the mere uttering of the short acronymic word sends a shutter down the average high school student’s spine. This standardized test will forever brand a student with a simple number ranging from 0-2400, essentially influencing their collegiate acceptance possibilities, and ultimately their futures. Throughout the nation students file into cramped classrooms, plop down behind average desks, open their writing booklets and here the words, “You Will Have 25 Minutes to Complete This Essay,” an original script written by students at the School for Creative and Performing Arts. This original one act, short play, focuses on the minds behind the numbers, and often poses the question; can a standardized test truly define a person’s capabilities?
Enter the stereotypical high school ensemble, the jock, the slut, the nerd, the rebel, and the social wannabe, each taking their respective seats, opening their test booklets and pouring out their stories for the entire audience to witness. However, it became quite apparent that these student’s respective S.A.T. scores, printed in bold black ink across their T-Shirts, represented so much more than their average defined stereotypes.
While some student’s cracked under the pressure of a 25 minute essay, often talking in circles, moving on to unwarranted tangents, or simply forgetting what they were talking about, there were others however that stuck to their true identity, not allowing for the pressures of single test to consume them. These students are the ones that received perfect scores, while the other stereotypical classmates who merely split under the pressure, received slightly lower scores.
For example a highlight of the show, the rebel, reluctant to even take a seat, gently kicked the desk before plopping down to slowly open his testing booklet revealing the most ironic question of the evening. “Are Standardized Tests a good measure of a student’s intelligence?” With a smirk on his face the rebel simply took his pencil and scribbled in giant letters, “NO”, and promptly closed his book. The score printed across his chest was a 2400, a perfect score.
Alexx Rouse, the director and writer of the production utilizes her piece of work to comment on society of the implications of the whole S.A.T. system and how a standardized test does not allow for the actual person to be adequately represented, while also expressing how student’s must not falter in their identity when presented with a pressure filled task, such as the S.A.T.
You Will Have 25 Minutes to Complete This Essay, was a charming account of the average high school students submission to the realm of the cruel standardized testing system. Written and directed entirely by high school students this show reflected an impressive quality of work, and overall was a pleasing performance.
You Will Have 25 Minutes to Complete This Essay is part of Cincinnati Fringe Festival’s FringeNext program, giving a voice to local high school students. Upcoming performances are Friday June 1 at 7:30 P.M., and Saturday June 2 at 9:00 P.M.
Review by Tyler Felts