Elena Sorrentino Editor-in-Chief
On Friday, Feb. 22, Eastern’s Drama Society held their biannual stage-reading show, “Reading Between the Lines” (RBL). The performance featured twelve student-written scenes that kept the audience laughing throughout the night. According to the Mason Beiter’s Director’s Note, RBL offers a space where “writers can see their work go from page to stage as their words are brought to life. That’s what this show is all about.” The student actors read off of the scripts in front of them, yet executed the scenes as if they had been rehearsing them for months. The actors included: Madison Bailey, Meg Campbell, Cassie Champagne, Christian Fronckowiak, Harry Gagne, Cody Motivans, Charlotte Pacheco, Rachel Pontbriand, Peter Vasone, and Austin Washington.
While all of the scenes were enjoyable, there were definitely some that stood out. One scene that was especially relatable to the college-aged audience was Imani Futrell’s “The Super Bowl Bowl.” In this play, the main character is agitated by her roommates who are seemingly incapable of cleaning their own dishes. The playwright creates an interesting scene in which a radio commercial appears to be talking to the upset protagonist. He goads her on with prompting questions, and seems to be directly commenting on her situation. Then, he prompts her to buy the super-bowl bowl, a device that automatically cleans itself. The scene ends with a clueless roommate returning to the dorm, having just purchased the magical product. Futrell’s portrayal of roommate frustration was superb, and the play’s fun twist on a common dilemma made it one of the best of the night.
Another scene that lit up the stage was Magdelena Czaszcz’s “The Executive Order.” This skit was all about the laughter, as the President of the United States shares his solution to the American Bald Eagle’s extinction. Rather than coming up with new regulations that would help American citizens, he instead spends his time choosing a new national animal, one that he believes to be superior to every other native species: the raccoon. He shares his campaign on a live-television broadcast, delving into all of the reasons that raccoons should be upheld as exceptional creatures. It is only at the end of his enthusiastic tirade that it becomes apparent that the broadcast never went live and he has simply been talking to a dead camera and an empty room. The actress’ ridiculously hilarious embodiment of the President put this scene over the top and made it another one of the audience’s favorites.
There are several other scenes that deserve shoutouts, including Robert Wilson’s “Misunderstandings,” which turned the idea of a “Super Bowl” on its head. Another memorable performance was “Four Horsemen,” by Austin Washington, which portrayed the four horsemen of the apocalypse using modern-aged technology to plan the world’s next catastrophe. The acting in this piece, especially that of Famine, brought the characters to life. Thirdly, “Season’s Eatings” by Mason Beiter finished off the night with holiday spirit, although the play ended with the absence of it for many children.
One aspect of this show that can be improved upon in the future is the inclusion of playwrights. The show’s focus is bringing student works to life, to allow the writer to see what their depictions will look like on stage. This awesome mission is, unfortunately, not being completely fulfilled. There were several writers, listed on the back of the program, whose work had to be cut due to time constraints. However, there were other writers who had multiple pieces in the performance; for example, the president of Drama Society had three. It seems unfair that one writer gets several of their pieces performed, while others are neglected. In a space that is meant to be a platform for students, it is disappointing to see how some were left out entirely while others were featured more than once. Those writers who did receive multiple submissions often had one piece that was extremely entertaining that was difficult for the rest of their pieces to live up to. In these cases, perhaps just the best skit should be included.
“Reading Between the Lines” was an enjoyable night filled with student created, directed, and performed, works. Drama Society offers an awesome atmosphere for students to share their writings, and I would encourage students to go and support their events.
Their next show is another student written play, “Nothing Happened, Everything Happened” by Kaitlyn Melninkaitis, which premiers on March 6.