Monday, December 8, 2008

Theatre Review

This past semester, a group of 12 MSCD students took a class called Performance Ensemble. Their sole task in said class was to put together a play called "Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast" under the guidance of Dr. Marilyn "Cookie" Hetzel, professor extraordinaire and head of MSCD's Theatre Department.

The result of their semester of hard work was a lovely example of my favorite kind of theatre: what I call "coffee house" theatre or "storytelling" theatre. With only variously colored T-shirts, scarves, and a couple blocks and ladders, this group of talented young actors created the world of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. I went to see them on Saturday and was wholly impressed. So much so, it made me jones for the Seuss show again...:)

Highlights from Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast:
  • The use of scarves: totally going to steal that idea
  • 9 actors forming the Caterpillar, 1 forming the hookah; all breathing and bubbling together
  • Kris (with Brian's arms) as Humpty Dumpty; the whole wall tilts as he extends his hand to Alice ("It is most provoking...")
  • Amazing transitions between scenes; actors forming not only all the characters but the backdrops with their bodies. Stage Movement students, take note!
  • Bonzuko's own Jas as the Hero, peering around the "tulgey wood" as behind him, 10 students swirl and form into a giant Jabberwock, which he then defeats with a "snicker-snack." Melissa as its head dies with much Jurassic-Park-esque screaming. The children (and Loren beside me) in the audience are in awe
  • Brilliant tea party scene with Melissa doing a Disney-like dormouse hilariously; Erica as a cross-eyed paranoid Mad Hatter; and the brilliant Brian as the March Hare. Brian's use of his scarf to form ears, which then express what's happening in the scene, was stellar
  • Talking about falls? The Red and White Knights both had some fabulous falls, as well as a hilarious fight scene. Their "horses" are precious. Jas as the White Knight does more break falling than anyone ever should on that hard stage floor. "Plenty of practice..."
  • Jas finds the perfect balance of being a narrator on stage: not upstaging the action, but making his voice clearly heard, also tackling the complex Carrollian language very well
  • Kudos to Brian, who, in the midst of personal loss, put on a great performance using his immense physical comedy talents

Really good job, kids. Know that that group of five little boys in the audience were not only mesmerized, but were reproducing the Tweedledum/Tweedledee dances in the hallway afterwards. You have done your work well. :) ~Jenn

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