“The Book of Everything” Is an Amazing Production


Mo Nobel, Staff Writer

Haddonfield Drama Club brought us The Book of Everything in October of 2021. This play took the audience through an emotional roller coaster throughout the production, from comedy to tragedy. Set in 1951 this story revolves around Thomas, a nine-year-old boy living in an extremely religious family.  His imagination flows throughout his world, allowing him to see things that people with such closed minds cannot. The set is drawn/built to look like what a child might see; for instance, it is filled with bright colors and abstract pieces. These little design ideas and props truly make a difference in the overall mood of it all. 

Thomas lives in what seems to be a happy household, but on the inside, it is not what it seems, like a worm inside of a bright red apple. His father is abusive, believing that only he and God are correct.  He meets with his version of Jesus and is given advice from him throughout the show that helps him to deal with his dad. The father raises him to feel like he is insignificant and always in the wrong. Thomas says when he wants to be happy when he is older because his mother isn’t. Not only does the father make everyone in the family feel worthless, but he hits Thomas’s mother and beats Thomas with a wooden spoon. The audience broke into tears watching this young child lose his faith in the world. It is only when he makes friends with the witch next door does he learn that happiness begins with being courageous and facing his fears. Him and his sister stand up to his father in a pursuit of freedom. In the end Thomas finds comfort in books, friends, and love, learning the importance of faith and courage. 

Characters break the fourth wall which I found to really form a connection between the crowd and actors. In the play you can really see how the ensemble really makes the show. I was so impressed how they went from portraying townspeople to the voices in Thomas’ head.

 I interviewed Chloe Tobin who played Margot, Thomas’s 16 year old sister. I asked her what connected her with Margot and she replied, “Margot started out this bratty older sister but as it continued and the family issues started to appear and become more apparent and important, she really matured in a way and her personality really showed. This connected to me because we aren’t really this one dimensional character,  we have different depths and reactions to certain things.” She also mentioned that her favorite part of playing her was having the freedom to just do whatever as her character was a rebellious teenager, she could really take the reins on how she wanted her character to be.  The last thing I asked her was why she loves the drama club and if she would encourage other students to take part in it and she stated, “I was very unsure about joining a new drama club this year. I felt very insecure and I didn’t really know anybody but as I started getting into it, I started really connecting with the people in drama club and created this area where i felt like i belonged. I most definitely suggest other people join, it really helps you with confidence and different aspects of life and you make a lot of great friends along the way.”

Through this play full of emotions, we are taught courage, love, compassion, rebellion and freedom by every character and actor in this show. It was truly amazing to see how this production had the whole crowing going from laughing, to crying, to having pure hope while seeing life through the eyes of one child.