The Repurcussions of the Father

THS Theatre Department Presents: The Fourteen Known Offspring of Sperm Donor HH247 by Rhea Fitzpatrick

The cast of the one act showing their spirit on set (Izze Turner photo)

The cast of the one act showing their spirit on set (Izze Turner photo)

No two people have the exact same upbringing. The play chosen by Natalie Safley, drama teacher and director, shows this point in all of its glory for Festival.

On March 4, Triton will be sticking their toes in the competition called the District Arts Festival. It’s an event where schools around the area come together to show off their different performing arts in front of a handful of schools and judges. Triton’s theatre department in particular is heading 45 minutes away to Chelmsford High School. Although this event is technically a competition, it is a standard that no one really views it that way. Everyone is usually rooting for each other because most people wouldn’t want to sit through a whole day of performances going “BOO YOU STINK!”

Director and Drama Teacher Natalie Safley chose a one act play called The Fourteen Known Offspring of Sperm Donor HH24, after running it through with Principal Patrick Kelley. According to her, “It’s very challenging to find one acts that have large casts. I really wanted to give people an opportunity to go to Festival because it’s such a unique, life-changing experience.”

  It focuses on 14 people from 14-27 years old that all share the connection of being sperm bank offspring of an unseen, but pivotal character. A gathering called by the fourth born child to a hotel conference room, that looked like a baby shower puked all over it, initiates conflict as time goes on through it. 

Different perspectives among the characters fuel said conflict. In this meeting, the characters are labeled with a number based on the order they were born (until the end where names are revealed). “At my previous school, we had done this show and it was written and directed by one of my former students, Rhea Fitzpatrick, who now goes to Simmons College. I thought it would be fun and it also has a great message on what makes a family.” said Safley.

One (played by senior Shanell Parra) is a professional loner who has a sense of civility. Her character arrives later than the other characters in the show and is taken aback at how personal this gathering is.

Two (played by sophomore Aiden Coates) is a sweet natured guy who has a controlling and domineering girlfriend. He also has a bit of a quirk in eating sticks of butter. Three (played by junior Nora Tang) is a sing songy vegan hippy that is one with nature and calls herself empathic. Four (played by junior Elise Blanchet) is the host of the meetup and longs to bring everyone together but seemingly to no avail. Five (played by senior Mackenzie Howland) is very pedantic but doesn’t come off as condescending and very much means well. Six, however, does not mean well for the most part. He is played by freshman Alex Burns and is characterized as an all-around jerk due to opposing the others for entertainment.

 Seven (played by senior Jordan Lavoie) is a strong independent young woman who’s defensive about not needing a dad. Eight (played by yours truly) grew up with Seven and is a foodie with a bit of a heart and a smart mouth.  He has a secret that adds a large amount of tension to the friendship he has with Seven.

Nine (played by senior Brenna Coates) is very educated and came with the curiosity of seeing the effects of nature and nurture. This character is also written to share many similarities with the next. Ten (played by senior Lilly Scire) is a sardonic and deeply frustrated character. She holds a grudge against Nine and resents the apparent similarities they have with each other. Eleven (played by junior Cam Neary) is the twin brother of Ten and longs for a father figure. He made up an imaginary persona of the dad he never had. 

Twelve (played by sophomore Izze Turner) is a shy but wise and insightful person dealing with grief at a loss. Thirteen (played by freshman Kelsey Nichols) is even more shy as she barely even talks in the show. She spends her time knitting and dreading bad luck especially when her number is 13. And finally, the last and youngest member of the roster is Fourteen (played by freshman River Wynne). He’s highly energetic and talkative but might be a little unaware of boundaries.

Artificial insemination in and of itself can be a more serious topic depending on how it’s played but this act tackles beyond that. It deals with teen pregnancy, suicide, false idolization, feelings of betrayal, self-hatred, and of course the concept of a family. Junior Cam Neary weighs in on the latter theme of the play. “This show is all about the idea of family and how, no matter what the dynamic is or if you’re related by blood, family is chosen and will endure. We have characters with one mom, no moms, or two moms.”

Moving back to the other themes, this show deals with serious but realistic subject matter that could spring up in anyone’s life. Senior Jordan Lavoie was asked about how the one act play deals with serious topics. “While the show has its lighthearted and funny moments, it does deal with some heavier topics like suicide. The cast has done a great job portraying these topics and showing how we can come together through family.”

The Triton Theatre Department is ecstatic to take part in Festival and are going to uphold the intentions of this play. Under the guise of a reunion story, this play is much more and opens up to that notion as it progresses. Not too much can be revealed past surface level attributes of the show as we don’t want to spoil the surprises of what’s in store. 

The cast will perform for the school during E Period on Thursday, March 2 and will take a trip to Chelmsford for the final performance on Saturday, March 4. Come find some insight, courtesy of the fourteen little swimmers.