Arts Runoff: As You Like It

Arts Runoff is a Middblog series of performance reviews, originally written by JP Allen ’11. Emily Jacke ’12.5 has taken over the series for the fall.

As You Like It ~ Fri & Sat at 8pm, Sat at 2 pm.             Wright Theatre. Tickets $12/10/6.

Summary: One of Shakespeare’s timeless comedies, As You Like It, set in a sort of liminal World War I period and punctuated with music, follows Rosalind, her cousin Celia, and the fool Touchstone on their flight into the Wood of Arden. Rosalind’s cross-dressing lends her and her sister protection; it also throws wrenches into her romantic wonderings. In the forest we meet her exiled father and his court and, conveniently, the object of her affections, Orlando – who does not recognize her. Lights and Set by Hallie Zeiselman, Costumes by Jule Emerson and Annie Ulrich, Musical Direction by Carol Christensen, featuring musicians Elias Alexander and Terri Conti, Directed by Cheryl Faraone. A Production of the Middlebury College Department of Theatre. The cast is sadly too large to list everyone; featured are: Christina Fox, Sarah Lusche (whose senior work this is!), Jake Connolly, Molly O’Keefe, Ben Orbison & Teddy Anderson. A full cast list can be found on the posters. Tickets are available at the Box Office for Friday at 8pm, and Saturday at 2pm & 8pm. $12/10/6.

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Arts Runoff: U.S. Drag

Arts Runoff is a Middblog series of performance reviews, originally written by JP Allen ’11. Emily Jacke ’12.5 has taken over the series for the fall.

I have to include a disclaimer on this review, too: I saw this show on Tuesday night – 2nd dress; shows can change dramatically from day to day during the final rehearsals. Given what the show looked like when I watched it, however, I doubt it would have changed enough that my review would be irrelevant. 

Seeler Studio Theatre, Fri & Sat 8 pm

Summary: Two young women, Angela and Allison, recent graduates of Vassar College, have descended upon New York City. They are smart, vapid, ambitious and unemployed. Through their nightly bar and club adventures they come across a community formed around S.A.F.E (Stay Away From Ed), an advocacy group of sorts dedicated to keeping the public safe an informed about the dangers of Ed, the as yet un-caught perpetrator of a series of random attacks. “A biting coming-of-age comedy that captures ‘the viciousness of a certain kind of New York dream’ – New York Times.” (You may have seen people around campus wearing buttons with the word “help” with a slash through it. This show is what those are about.)

This is a faculty show, directed by Alex Draper, ’88, starring Meghan Leathers,’ 14 and Caitlin Duffy ‘15.5 with Matt Ball, ’14, Noah Berman, ’13, Greg Dorris, ’13, Chelsea Melone, ’15, Adam Milano, ’15 and Charlotte Michaelcheck, ’15. Tickets $10/8/6 through the box office.

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Arts Runoff: Greater Tuna

Arts Runoff is a Middblog series of performance reviews, originally written by JP Allen ’11. Emily Jacke ’12.5 has taken over the series for the fall.

I have to begin with a disclaimer—I am the costume designer for this show, and therefore heavily biased. That being said, I intend to give you my very honest opinion of this show (so consider me honestly biased.) 

Hepburn Zoo Theatre Fri 8 & 10:30, Sat 8. Tickets $4.

Summary: Greater Tuna, the brainchild of Ed Howard, Joe Sears & Jaston Williams, is a two man show which takes us through a day in the life of the fictional town of Tuna, TX by way of its local radio station. A snappy comedy replete with characters bizarre, familiar and familiarly bizarre, Greater Tuna explores the idiosyncrasies of a small backwards American town, taking on racism, censorship and family life with gusto, guffaws and even some gravitas. The production is the senior work in acting for Nathaniel Rothrock, ‘12.5. Nicholas Hemerling, ‘14.5, costars. Each plays 8-9 roles.

Teddy Anderson, ‘13.5 directs. Costumes by Emily Jacke, ‘12.5 (yours truly), lights by Alan Sutton, ’14, & sound by Grace Bell ’13. Anna Parker, ‘15.5 stage manages, Angela Santee, ’13 runs lights, stagehand Robbie Seltzer ’15 also has a small non-speaking role, and Hayley Singleton ’15 and Mary Richards ’15 dress.

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Arts Runoff: A Curious Invasion/Middlebury

Arts Runoff is a Middblog series of performance reviews, originally written by JP Allen ’11. Emily Jacke ‘12.5 has taken over the series for the fall!

Summary: A centerpiece of this weekend’s ongoing Clifford Symposium on Creativity & Collaboration, A Curious Invasion is a collaboration between the PearsonWidrig DanceTheatre, an award winning US dance company, and the Dance Company of Middlebury. The site-specific work involves performances by students, members of the PearsonWidrig company and live music by David Schulman. Dancers explore the architecture of the CFA inside and out, as audience members follow them through the building. Cameos by Pieter Broucke, Alex Draper and Dana Yeaton.

Good: Smart choreography, some stunning visual pictures, and some really tender and intriguing moments. The live music was simple and lovely, costumes well done with colors well-chosen to make the dancers stand out against various backgrounds. The choreography really explored the spaces and got me to notice things about the building I’d never noticed or thought about before, in incredibly creative and sometimes moving ways, including a really splendid and nearly harrowing descent from the windows of the dance theatre and the sharp contrast of two dancers tracing their fingers along the enormous grey wall on the outside of the Musem.

Bad: It’s a little weird; the usual formalities that tell us it’s “appropriate” for people to start performing don’t apply – there isn’t a consistently clear performance space, the lighting is just what is usually in the CFA… so it felt a little bit awkward at first, although definitely amusing. Being part of a moving audience always poses a problem: where there isn’t always a clear separation from the dancing space and the audience space it can make for a cluttered view; there’s a heightened amount of distraction from the piece as you negotiate the people craning their necks around you. But as long as you stay near the front, it’s fine. Some of the sections of the piece also felt a little bit long, and repetitive, though the payoff of staying through to see the end once the show went outside were well worth the opening section.

Broad: The site-specific dance work I’ve seen has generally suffered most from “cluttered and confused audience syndrome,” and this piece surprised and delighted me in that the work engaged me enough that I forgot about the audience around me. The piece was also well-designed in directing the eye of the audience to where it belongs, so I never felt confused about where I was going and was able to focus on the piece. Also there is something cool about being as aware of the people around me as I was – you get a sense of how the piece is affecting other people. I spent a good deal of time next to a woman and her young daughter who was quietly asking some of the most insightful questions I’ve heard. Girl: “What does that wall feel like?” Mother: “Well, it’s metal…” Girl: “Then why are they hitting themselves on it?” In general I’m glad I got to see this.

If you are looking for an intriguing study break, I definitely recommend stopping by the CFA. It’s free, so you don’t have anything to lose, the show is less than an hour.

Contextual Rating:  The last shows are Saturday at 12:30 PM and 4:30 PM in the CFA Lobby.

 If you already have something planned this afternoon/ evening…

…have fun.  See a different show next week.

…do it.  See this show.

…put it off.  See A Curious Invasion.

…skip it. See this show.

Emily Jacke ‘12.5 is a Theatre Major with a focus in Costume Design from Jaffrey, NH.