Arts & Culture

‘3C2C’ show features student-directed plays

Six plays invited newcomers to present stories of superheroes, post-apocalyptic settings

By
Contributing Writer
Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Lights come on to spotlight a masked individual, clad in all black, who repeatedly kicks a large box in the center of the stage for seemingly a whole minute. How is an audience supposed to react to such a spectacle? Some audience members laughed nervously at the initial absurdity before the rest of the cast declared themselves as the “Triumphant Threesome,” a group of unintimidating amateur superheroes ready to stop the menacing villain already on stage.

The audience’s response of disorientation and delightful surprise was the cornerstone of Production Workshop’s “3C2C,” which included six short plays written and directed by students, staged Friday through Monday in the Downspace.

As implied by the production’s title “3C2C,”  playwrights and directors were challenged to incorporate three chairs and two cubes into their sets. Though this served as a defining commonality between works, it’s hard to draw comparisons between the plays. The productions spanned across genres, from comedy to drama, and presented different, often absurd scenarios. This constant shift in material kept the audience amused, even during segments that fell short of their desired effect. The breadth of progressive topics, ranging from the difficulties of queer love to the complexities of grief, reflected the diverse themes created by the student playwrights.

Passion was successfully displayed on stage with many emotionally charged performances, such as Christien Hernandez ’21 portrayal of Jake, a young man who becomes angry and fearful upon discovering he could have contracted HIV, in “House of Virgina.”

Generally, the most successful and moving plays demonstrated elements of drama and comedy that worked in tandem. The last in the program, “Crystal & Applesauce,” written by Samantha Crausman ’19 and directed by Beth Pollard ’21, featured three teenage girls trying to make light of their three-year entrapment in a bunker they entered in preparation for the 2012 apocalypse. It was difficult not to laugh as the most enthusiastic of the three, Hannah, played by Juliet Norvig ’18, persistently recreated different holidays in their sparse setting using their few belongings, particularly applesauce, to combat the group’s fatigue. Norvig and her co-stars impressively conveyed a self-awareness of the futility of their efforts, as they knew that their food supply would soon run out. Nonetheless, the performance ended on a hopeful note when the audience heard the bunker door creak open, and the girls looked up, hoping to finally have been found.

Many of the playwrights, directors, actors and stage crew had little to no experience working in the theater at Brown prior to “3C2C.” The participants ranged from first-years to seniors who wanted a chance to get involved at PW before they graduate, said Raphaela Posner ’18, who directed “Lauren, the Last Dinosaur, a Friendly Dilophosaurus.”

“It’s empowering to see the commitment people bring,” said Gavin Petty ’21, director of “A Dead Dog.” “Everyone tries so much harder because they want to be there.”

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