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.
This week, Swarthmore’s Frear Ensemble Theater staged the theater department’s Directing I Night of scenes, a collaboration between student directors, actors, and designers to showcase talents both new and familiar. The three plays were Ara Watson’s “Final Placement,” directed by Dan Hodson ’09; Matt Pelfrey’s “Drive Angry,” directed by Noah Lang ’10; and Sarah Ruhl’s “Eurydice,” directed by Chris Compton ’09.
The first play was “Final Placement,” the story of a social worker, played by Amanda Klause ’12, and and a biological mother, played by Katie Suavain ’09, arguing over a child’s rightful custody. Both actresses gave riveting performances, which coupled with the simple design created a play that was at times moving and at other times thoughtfully disturbing. The whole experience was emotionally charged, and watching the expressions of Klause and Suavain made both character’s plights palpable.
The second play was the provocative and often humorous “Drive Angry,” which seemed to move with unbridled energy despite the actors, Luke Rampersad ’10 and Behram Khan ’11, remaining seated for the duration of the play. “Drive Angry” takes place in a car, where the characters discuss society, mortality, and existential pollution in disarmingly unpretentious language. The directing choices, movements of the actors, and animated lighting design fueled the play, and a twist at the send served to drive its message home.
The longest and most surreal of the plays was “Eurydice,” an adaptation of the Greek myth and a brilliant play in its own right. The piece journeyed through the underworld of both Greek mythology and the human mind. The lighting’s giant shadows evoked the Allegory of the Cave. Patricia Solange Hillfinger-Pardo ’12 starred as the title character, with Brian Ratcliffe ’11, Brain Willis ’11, Brandan Work ’10, and Thomas Jetmore ’09 wonderfully playing the rest of the characters. Ratcliffe succeeded in portraying three very distinct characters in his Chorus of Stones.
The work of the actors, designers, and namely the directors all came through in this Theater department production, and Swarthmore can look forward to seeing more of their work in future semesters. The Directing I Night of Scenes was held Wednesday and Thursday at 8 pm, in the Frear Ensemble Theater.