Scenes from “Admissions,” a play at the Maryland Ensemble Theatre about the angst of college admissions.

‘Admissions’: Politically Emotional

I knew next to nothing about the play “Admissions” when I went to see it at the Maryland Ensemble Theatre. I didn’t know what it was about, I didn’t know the length, and most surprisingly, I didn’t know how much I’d be bawling by the end of it.

 The plot of the play is very simple: Sherri is head of admissions at a premier boarding school in New Hampshire. Her husband is head of the school, and her son attends the private school. Through it all, we get commentary on what it means to be diverse, and what lines must be drawn in how, and how not, to reach equality. This of course results in mistakes made with almost every character, and an incredibly realistic portrayal of arguments and conversations.

The key word here is “realistic.” Throughout the play a monologue is shared with one of the characters, sounding like something you would hear when talking with a family member. An example of this is when Sherri’s son, Charlie, goes on a rant about diversity after not being accepted into a major Ivy League college when his friend is accepted.

Even more realistic are the arguments. This is the first time in any stage production I verbally said, “oh no” to myself when an argument started to form. The characters here are not afraid to go the extra mile when it comes to on-stage arguments, especially nearing the show’s end. Without giving any spoilers, one of the characters becomes almost verbally violent.

This makes the humor hit in ways I couldn’t imagine in a production like this. Just like the arguments, no one’s afraid to make the comedy as dirty, offensive, and out of left field as it can be, which is to the play’s advantage. It even strengthens the arguments and points the characters make, which is not an easy thing to do.

The play continues at the Maryland Ensemble Theatre through Saturday, March 1. For tickets, go to https://marylandensemble.org/admissions/. Shows are Thursdays through Sundays, and the theater is located at 31 W. Patrick St., Frederick. For ticket prices and show times, check the website or call 301-694-4744.

It’s a funny, yet heart pounding experience that will challenge your thinking until after the curtain call.

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