Production Workshop’s newest presentation, “3C2C,” derives its name from the only major props on stage — three chairs and two cubes — but its content transcends those few objects. A collection of five short plays written, directed and performed by students, 3C2C presents a vast range of genres and emotions in its 70-minute running time. From indie to drama to sheer farce, there is no shortage of original thought at the Downspace.
The first play, “Annie in a Cave,” written by Iris Cronin ’19 and directed by Jake Kuhn ’17, broaches the idea of being restrained from adventure. Halley McArn ’19 plays Annie, a desperately curious girl trapped in a cave who is guarded from that curiosity by her fellow cave-dweller John (Dylan Jack ’19). Supported by Jacob (Clementine Quittner ’19) and Janna (Alex Daigle ’19), Annie questions why she cannot explore the realm of imagination and possibility. Cronin’s 10-minute piece speaks to the unquenchable thirst for creativity and exploration.
After Annie storms off the stage in the play’s dramatic conclusion, “A Presentation from the Department of Things at the Institute,” written by Jason Roth ’17 and directed by Cameron Neath ’18, presents a hysterical interpretation of college life. The Doctor (Lily Meyersohn ’19) welcomes the audience to the Institute, which operates on an unknown planet. There, the Doctor presents an exhibition of second-year students who are in the midst of transforming into “things” to be shipped off to the underdeveloped planet Earth. The only play not to immediately use the chairs and cubes, “A Presentation” makes creative use of audience members. Two unwitting viewers are invited on stage to participate in opening, sitting on and kicking Bag (Shannon Sotomayor ’17), Bench (Hwi Jae Shin ’19) and Rock (Noah Chamberlain ’19). Averse to their motionless, soundless state, Bag begs the others to rebel, only to be thwarted by the very angry Doctor, who in retaliation presents the audience with the fully transformed fourth-year students: three chairs and two cubes.
Emotions run high in “The Utopia Project,” written by Sabina Kariat, a Rhode Island School of Design student, and directed by Conor Sweeney ’18. The play introduces the audience to Jamal (Francis Bogan ’18), a man whose memory has been completely wiped clean, and his neuroscientist wife Amelie (Marina Hyson ’18). Desperate to create a better world than the one her husband cannot remember, Amelie tries to fabricate beautiful memories for her unwitting husband. “The Utopia Project” forces a powerful woman in science to reconcile her dreams of a better world with her morality.
In a similar vein, “From the Ashes,” written and directed by Emily Garrison ’16, features Jake Gogats ’18 as Boy and Clementine Quittner ’19 as Girl in a war-torn society. Evoking a “Hunger Games”-like totalitarianism, Gogats and Quittner portray a range of male and female roles in the 15-minute play. From small children to lovers, war leaders to a mother and son, the duo executes their on-stage transitions between characters seamlessly, all while demonstrating the vast range of lives impacted by war. “From the Ashes” reminds the audience of the pain and lawlessness war creates.
On the other side of totalitarianism, “3C2C” concludes with the raucous, anti-establishment piece “A Dictator’s Cat,” written by Fletcher Bell ’16 and directed by Marielle Burt ’19. The plays features ninjas, zombies, a golfer and his caddie, two halves of a bear that somehow manage to make out with each other and a well-dressed dictator (Charlotte Senders ’18) and her cat. A character emphasizes repeatedly via megaphone that individuals are not defined by their work. Amongst the absolute mayhem of her totalitarian state, the dictator somehow manages to keep her cool long enough to allow a group rendition of “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton, only to rip apart the lyrics sheets she had handed out moments earlier.
An incredible production of five wildly diverse short plays, “3C2C” excellent use of the outstanding talent and minimal props provided to the playwrights and directors. Going in every direction all at once while somehow maintaining a thread of logic, “3C2C” explored the range of human thought in just over an hour.
“3C2C” opened Wednesday and runs through Monday.