By Liz Nolan, Contributing Writer
NORTHBOROUGH/SOUTHBOROUGH – It was showtime for Algonquin Regional High School 2021 graduate Miranda Slingluff.
She wrote and directed Paralleled-The Musical, which was performed in front of an outdoor audience at the school on June 18-19. Every aspect of the show was student-run.
Slingluff is no stranger to the performing arts. She has participated in several theatrical productions and was part of several singing groups throughout high school. This was the first time, however, she was on the other side of the stage.
The writing process began early in Slingluff’s sophomore year. The story she wanted to tell developed over the years, especially during the last year with the COVID-19 lockdown.
“I had more time and patience and clarity to get a plot down,” she said. “I took the scattered ideas to make them what they are today.”
The main character, Alice, seems to be living the perfect life as, according to the show’s website, she sits at the top of her class at Carnegie Mellon University, living with her best friends and exploring a budding romance. She has the opportunity to intern with NASA but then starts to crumble under the pressure.
Paralleled-The Musical explores mental illness, communication, and friendship, all topics that have been in the forefront of many minds during the pandemic. The audience experienced Alice’s inner thoughts, self-doubts, anxieties and insecurities as she tries to maintain the façade of being fine.
“The thing about Paralleled is that everybody will be able to see themselves within the story we’ve created,” Slingluff said on the website.
“Everybody in the past year can connect with struggle and the internal fight in your own head,” she continued. “I just wanted to talk about it and have people see this character, who seems to have it all together, and realize that no one knows what they are doing. It’s a story about seeing each other in a new way.”
Rehearsals began in early February. Slingluff praised the hand-picked cast, who she described as “the ten most talented, ambitious, wonderful people who work so brilliantly together.”
In a year where it was difficult to do live theater, Slingluff was happy to see the show she wrote come to life. A bonus was to do a final show with friends.
The show’s executive producer, Sravya Tanikella, also a 2021 ARHS graduate, appreciates the support of Principal Sean Bevan and local organizations.
She was impressed by the high caliber of talent and the growth of the cast.
“I have never been involved in a musical or chorus, but this has been an amazing experience,” she said, then addressing the pandemic specifically. “In the worst of times, we made the best of it.”
Slingluff will be attending The Boston Conservatory in the fall to pursue musical theatre. She hopes to continue writing and directing.