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Stage Review: Spring Showcase 2016

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The Spring Showcase, presented by the Suffolk University Theatre Department, is a set of three shows written and directed by students. The shows are all wonderfully done and stand out as interesting and exciting pieces of theatre. The fact that students are the ones behind the creation of these excellent productions make them even more exciting. The three plays, How You Remind Me, Intoxicating Me, Darling and Oedipus, are all different and unique. Getting the opportunity to see all of them at one event makes for a diverse and satisfying night of theatre.IMG_0546

The Showcase opens with How You Remind Me, which was written by Junior Ariana Messana and co-directed by Sophomore Erica Wisor and Junior Kevin J.P. Hanley (who also lead the stage management team for the three shows). This show is emotionally charged and extremely dynamic in the way it develops. It doesn’t take long to get invested in the story of the show or the characters. This is due in part to the set, which is visually interesting and grabs your attention before the first line is even spoken.

The cast (made up of Seniors Jed Kurtzman and Shelby Somelofske and Sophomore Matthew Bittner) play off of each other wonderfully and keep the energy of the show intense and electric. Kurtzman seamlessly portrays the main character’s anguish and grief. Bittner fluidly conveys the frustration his character feels with his best friend’s destructive behavior. Likewise, Somelofske, who plays the main character’s ex-girlfriend, conveys her own worries and frustrations honestly and sincerely. All of these elements, coupled with Wisor and Hanley’s seamless directing, make the plot of How You Remind Me come to life.

IMG_0635The next show in the lineup is Intoxicating Me, Darling, written and directed by Junior Maggie Bie with an excerpt by Sue Zhao. The premise of the show is interesting and original, being based on the thought “If you were in a room with everyone you’ve ever loved, who would you pick”. The tone of the show is set in the first scene when Freshman Ali Maynard’s Maeve (pictured left with Sophomore Kelly Roper) delivers a beautiful introductory monologue. Right away, the show demands your attention and keeps it for the progression of the story.

The entire cast plays off of one another dynamically, delivering their lines and progressing the story with honesty and raw emotion. The story focuses on love and how difficult it can be to find it and keep it. The audience accompanies the central character “Her” (played by Roper) as she struggles to figure out what she wants in a relationship and who she wants to be with. The emotion and intrigue of the show draw you in and keep you genuinely interested in the outcome. The mixture of light hearted and moving moments in the show make it thoroughly enjoyable.    

The last show in the Showcase is Oedipus, but it’s not the same telling of the story that we’re all used to seeing and reading. Junior Andrew Bourque has adapted and reimagined the show and makes it new and accessible. This version is intense and eerie and keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the show. Even though the story of Sophocles’ Oedipus is one that most of us are familiar with, you’ll still find yourself completely drawn in, anxious to see how all the pieces are going to fall into place.

IMG_0520The cast (pictured left) wonderfully tells the complicated story of Oedipus through the intensity and dedication that they bring to their roles. Sophomore Jack Aschenbach leads the cast as Oedipus and expertly conveys the conflict that his character must face over the course of the play. Senior Elainy Mata plays Jocasta and breathes life into the character. Freshman Allison Blackburn and Freshman Amanda LoCoco play Parangelia and Symfora respectfully and serve as narrator figures for the story. They provide a mixture of comic relief as well as seriousness and additional drama that is unique to this production. Junior Maxine Buretta (the Oracle) and Sophomore Olivia Lowe (Son) add to the story in intense and dynamic ways, helping the plot progress and adding to the dark drama of the show. Oedipus keeps you engaged and on the edge of your seat from start to finish and provides a strong end to the Spring Showcase.

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