Student Directed Plays Illustrate Many Themes

Allison Brown   Staff Writer

Between April 5 and 8, two student directed plays collectively called “Awakenings” were performed in the Fine Arts Instructional Center. This performance highlighted two student theater capstone projects. I can safely say that both plays exhibited the highest levels of professionalism in both the actor’s lines and character portrayals.  Themes of beauty, intellectual awakening,  and ageism illustrate discomfort and distrust of the characters in two worlds for the “Youth” play. In “Chitra” themes presented are shown through the differences in how the characters relate to each other.

In the student directed play of “Youth,” Captain Gulliver shipwrecks onto a foreign island whose inhabitants seem more concerned about beauty than providing aid to the Captain. Captain Gulliver, in the eyes of the island inhabitants, is nothing more than a raggedy old man whose tired state reflects his lack of ability to survive in their world. He is an outsider; a commoner which they are not to associate with, especially since he is an old man. Jenkins, one of the noble ladies, remains far away when greeting the Captain. She carries herself with stiff posture and calculated movements illustrating the upper class she is a part of. However, as the play goes on the separation between social groups shrinks heightening tensions. Through these interactions she learns this stranger and her are not so different after all. Jenkins becomes more carefree and affectionate towards the Captain, disobeying societal norms of her world  and eventually deciding to run away into the stranger’s world when given the opportunity.

Matt Bessette, director of “Youth,” describes his experience, “There were struggles to overcome during the rehearsal process (scheduling conflicts, emergency recasting) but I can say under no uncertain terms that I take pride in what you are about to view.” Bessette goes on to say, “I am grateful for everyone involved who made this possible. The production is a result of hard work, tireless energy and unconditional collaboration.”

I agree with Bessette, the stage, set, costumes, lightening, and acting all meshed together in harmony illustrating the hard work and dedication of each student involved. I think attending events such as these is important around campus to show support for the Eastern community. Most plays, musical events and performances are free to Eastern students with an ID.

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