Two More Nights of Scenes

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Monday, May 5
THE MURDER OF PIERROT, An original piece
Directed by Joanna Wright

Tuesday, May 6
by Tom Stoppard
Directed by Jackie Avitabile
Directed by Niccolo Moretti

The Murder of Pierrot

Directed by Joanna Wright.
Actors: Chris Klaniecki ’10, David Kornflit ’09, Ethan Deyle ’08, Eric Holzhauer ’10, Simone Fried ’10, Isabel St. Clair ’11, and Alison Santiago ’08.

This original piece, written by Joanna Wright and developed by her seven-member cast, will be premiering tonight at 8pm in the Frear Theatre. It should run 35 minutes.

The play was inspired by the 1945 French film, Children of Paradise.

Wright aimed to use this play to unpack why this movie, which she describes as “really boring but really beautiful” has long been one of her very favorite movies. A layered piece, the play tells the tale of a famous French mime in the late 1800s who accidentally kills an old man. Thousands of people flock to the mime’s trial with the hope of hearing the man’s voice for the first time.

Wright’s adaptation also has built off of some of the original screenplay to portray the movie, the filmmaker, and then the modern audience, each working to unpack the broader story.

“It turned out very well,” said Wright. Adding that her ulterior motive with the play is to encourage people to search McCabe for the original movie.

Rosencrantz and Guilderstern Are Dead

Directed by Jackie Avitabile ’09
Actors: Judy Browngehl ’09, Jessie Bear ’09, Sven Udekwu ’09, Andrew VanBuren ’10, Miriam Rich ’11, Katie Becker ’10.

Jackie Avitabile ’09 was sitting in the audience of Boy Meets Tractor this past Friday when BMT began to perform a sketch entitled “Rosencrantz and Guilderstern are UNDEAD!” She couldn’t ahve hoped for better advertising.

The play was written by British comedian-playwright Tom Stoppard. “It is a spoof on Hamlet,” explained Avitable, simply.

The play tells the story of two bit character in Shakespeare’s famous Hamlet. Rosencrantz and Guilderstern are two messengers and friends of Hamlet. Hamlet comes to think that the two are actually planning to kill him, and manages to plot their deaths.

In this play, Stoppard asks if it is possible that Rosencrantz and Guilderstern were actually innocent. “What if they weren’t in on it? What if they had no idea what was going on?” asked Avitabile. “It is a great theatre joke for people who know Hamlet, but it is still a good story on its own.”

Avitabile was excited to direct the piece. She picked it because of its meta-theatrical nature, so it would perfectly fit the spartan Frear Theatre and because it would give her a chance to utilize her evolving fight scene choreography skills.

The play opens at 8pm and runs for an hour.

A Bright Room Called Day

Directed by: Nicolo Moretti
Actors: Brian Ratcliffe, Chris Compton, Katie Sauvain,Marina Templesmen, Natalie Bamdad, Sara Lipshutz

This play is set in 1932 Berlin, said Moretti. The story follows the lives of a number of Germany communists during the rise of the Nazis. The story sometimes jumps into the present day with the viewpoint of Zillah, an American expatriate living in (West) Berlin in 1985.

The play plays with time, jumping from character to character and time to time. It still centers on a single apartment that is shared by Agnes of 1932 and Zillah of 1985. Zillah is always on-stage, but never interacts directly with the ancient word.

“The play is haunting, beautiful, and politically relevant,” explained Moretti, “but I really chose it because I really loved the final scene of the first act.”

The play opens following Rosencratz and Guilderstein are Dead in the Frear.

Correction: Jessie Bear ’09 was an actor in Rosencrantz and Guilderstern Are Dead, not Jessie Bayer ’09 as originally reported. The Gazette apologizes for this error.

1 Comment

  1. These, along with those of the first night (Louis Jargow’s direction on Genet’s “The Maids” and Jesse Paulsen’s on Beckett’s “Endgame”) were great shows.

    “The Murder of Pierrot” is, along with “Innocence” from last semester, the best thing I’ve ever seen done by the Department of Theatre, despite its use of mime, dance, referencing of shows from the previous night, and involvement from the off-stage writer/director, all things that usually leave me cold. Remarkably smart, but never showy.

    Jackie Avitable sells her show short by describing it as “a spoof on Hamlet,” though that may be a truncated quote; the Samuel Beckett influence on the script shone through in the direction, however. Also, all of this was a reminder of what great comedic actors we have here, which goes for all six members of this cast. (Fight choreography was hilarious too.)

    “A Bright Room Called Day” originally had me admiring the acting and direction but perplexed by the text, but the new tone that Moretti and his designers introduce for Ratcliffe’s remarkable and frightening turn as the Devil taking up temporary residence in Germany both tied the polemics and atmosphere together for an astonishing finale.

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