Stage Review: Fall Showcase 2016
As an actor, I am well aware that dress rehearsals are usually far from perfect. So, when I was asked to attend the dress rehearsal for the Suffolk University Theatre Department’s Fall Showcase 2016, I was not sure what to expect. However that probably made this viewing experience all the better. I was lucky enough to be one of the first people to see these three brilliant plays before they open tonight. This is one of the Department’s first shows of the year, and it is a very strong performance to kick it off.
The first play in the line-up is the chilling Sälem. It opens with three sisters practicing witchcraft in the town famous for its dark past. Their reckless behavior then attracts the attention of their Pastor (Kyle Salvaggio) and a townswoman named Vala (Courtney Bouchard), causing things to spiral out of control as a Druid (Allison Blackburn) oversees the events that unfold. This overall intriguing play was a creative story that kept you on the edge of your seat. Candles glowing in the darkness and a subtle hum in the theatre effectively built tension until the surprising ending. The play is directed by Annalise Fosnight and written by Andrew John Bourque, who is also a member of the Showcase cast.
Despite being a senior, Fosnight began her theatre career at Suffolk just a year ago. She could have been found behind-the-scenes at Fall Showcase 2015 and as the assistant stage manager of Suffolk’s production of Rent, which ran last April. The idea of a play about the occult was coined this year by Fosnight and Bourque, who would have phone conversations discussing plotlines and characters. “We like to play with the darkness in humanity and how people encompass that,” Fosnight states. “It’s really interesting to incorporate that into a show.” Fosnight plans on returning to stage management after she graduates.
Jack Yeatman penned and produced Déjà Vu, a jarring and clever story about a group of friends dealing with a military draft. When college student George’s younger brother is drafted into the military, George makes the brave decision to enlist so he can watch over his brother. This decision, of course, sparks tension in his friend group as they begin to fear for each other’s futures. The play is riddled with symbolism and 1960s nostalgia in order to make a statement about the current state of our country. It is a scary but relevant piece that was extremely enjoyable.
Yeatman is a junior and has been involved in all of the showcases produced by the theatre department since he began attending the school in 2014. He has also performed in the Suffolk productions directed by Professor Wes Savick. Yeatman began writing Déjà Vu two years ago, writing based off of his family’s extended history with military service, a topic with emotions that “came naturally” to him. Not only that, but it ties allusions to the draft during the Vietnam War with more modern situations. “Really it’s a show that covers political pressures that are happening right now,” says Yeatman.
Last, but not least, we have queer, written and directed by Maggie Bie. Bie’s play is a powerful and eye-opening journey through the LGBT movement, from the days of Ancient Greece to the recent Pulse shooting. We follow a modern interpretation of legendary Biblical figures Adam and Eve as they travel through time looking at historical events from a homosexual perspective. This fresh play provides to be fantastic political commentary on how the LGBT community is seen by the public. queer beautifully brings the details of history that have been pushed under the rug back to the surface in order to challenge the heteronormativity that is forced in our society.
This is not Bie’s showcase debut. Bie also wrote and directed a play entitled Intoxicating Me, Darling for last year’s Spring Showcase. Aside from this, she has spent the last two years getting involved with multiple productions and showcases at Suffolk. When working with Professor Savick, she found a topic she was passionate about turning into art. “I started doing research and it turned into an exploration of history,” Bie said when talking about the writing process. She found lots of pieces of landmark historical events involving the LGBT community that are often omitted from history classes. She uses the play to raise the questions “Why don’t we learn this? Why don’t we ever hear about these stories?”
Both Yeatman and Bie have intentions of working on their respective plays in the future, with hopes of converting them into full-length plays and the possibilities of publication and production. All three directors can be seen in the Suffolk Theatre Department’s upcoming production of Margo Veil: An Entertainment, which arrives at the Modern Theatre this November.
Every aspect of the Fall Showcase was tightly put together. From the complex lighting design to the many settings, from the phenomenal acting to the bits of music, these plays were truly pieces of art. For the people who were smart enough to reserve their seats before every performance sold out, you will not be disappointed. In fact, you should prepare for a night of wildly entertaining and moving performances, brought to you by a small percentage of the talented students at this school. I sincerely wish the cast and crew to break a leg this weekend. Here’s to a fantastic show!
For more information on the Fall Showcase and other upcoming Theatre Department events visit Suffolk.edu/Theatre