The Evening of Performance this year was relatively terrible with few redeeming qualities, and I’d encourage students and faculty alike to save their time, money, and anticipation for the upcoming musical which is always more promising. On another note, let me mention that the costumes and sets were very well done. The Players involved with those aspects of the Evening of Performance should be commended for their good work.
God (A Play)
This was my favorite of the three performances, which is saying something because I didn’t really like it. The play started off by almost immediately breaking the fourth wall, and proceeded to break the fifth, sixth, and possibly seventh walls (which shouldn’t have ever existed in the first place). The chorus was monotonous, with no real feeling, and essentially just interrupted, making the play seem even longer. The play’s script seemed like it was haphazardly thrown together; it literally made me feel sick with how little sense it made (even half of the cast stormed out in frustration with it during the performance). The only point it achieved was proving that there was no point to the entire story.
Moving onto the cast, there were a couple bright spots. Luc Lagace ’14 and Will Johnson ’12, who played Diabetes and Hepatitis respectively, played somewhat interesting characters rather well, and made them believable. Alyssa Montalbano ’13, who was a pretty face more than anything else, did at least have some personality that brought character to the story, in contrast to the majority of the cast. Kent Morris ’12 was the only other actor worth mentioning, as his ability to work within the confines of his relatively small roles brightened the play. All in all, the writing of the play was worse than its performers, but it was still my favorite of the night.
The Fascinating Foundling
When this act ended, the people I was with asked me to explain it, and it took me less than 30 seconds, which was much shorter than the play took to explain the same thing. The actors were fine for what they were acting out, but the play itself was ghastly boring and left me mostly feeling annoyed. The play was comprised of fantastically and unnecessarily extended conversations to set up a freakishly farfetched finish. The middle of the play was a single 20 minute long conversation that was both uninteresting and far longer than it needed to be. I most enjoyed watching Kevan Donlon ’12, who played Brabazon. Donlon was a pretty fine actor, and while everything he did was ridiculously overdone, that’s probably how the character was written and at least he was gone fairly fast.
For a finale, the audience learned that females will always get their way no matter what a man feels or thinks, which is a good lesson to learn (and the reason I’m writing this review), although there should be a far more painless way to teach it.
Suddenly, Last Summer
The entire play is about a woman moping over her dead son, defending him from attacks both imaginary and non-existent, all while talking to a man deemed “Doctor Sugar,” who was a passenger on the most boring verbal roller coaster ever. There were a variety of plot points, and the story turned out to be significant, but it was overshadowed by the fact that everything dragged out longer than it needed to be. The climax took 20 minutes alone and left me wholly unsatisfied, and all said and done, it took over an hour and a half for this play alone, when the content only needed about half of that time.
This play did have the best cast performances of the evening’s three acts. I felt that I could understand the character’s convoluted lives. Violet, played by Mary DeVarney ’12, was constantly out of breath, which obviously gave her more time to remember her lines, but also made her impossible to understand about half of the time. My favorite characters in the play were Sister Felicity (Marisa Gallego) and Miss Foxhill (Madeline Heller ’14), largely because they were able to convey their characters even though (or possibly especially because) they talked the least.
Overall, the Players’ performance wasn’t as bad as the choices of plays they chose to perform, and maybe some of the directorial choices could have been different, too. Plays that have fifteen minutes or more between plot points, when a plot is present at all, aren’t very good for a college audience; for that matter, I have trouble thinking of any audience who wouldn’t have been bored to tears even if these plays were put on by professionals. There were some good actors, and some that should probably never act on a stage again, but the choice of plays was the biggest problem, and the main reason that the Evening of Performance was not nearly as enjoyable as I expect the musical will be.
An Evening of Performance 2012 wraps up this weekend, February 24 and 25 at 8 pm, at the Playhouse. Tickets are $5 with an RPI ID and general admission is $10.