It’s reading week, and you have a lot going on. Five to seven pages on institutionalized something, an upcoming final on emerging infectious something something, that Kendall Lamond character coming on Thursday with Ab-Something and Anamanasomething…We get it: You’re busy. But when has a packed schedule ever constituted a legitimate excuse to ignore the manifold dramatic delights the Wesleyan theater community has to offer? The answer is never, and you will tragically miss out on a diversity of creatively stimulating artistic expression should you fail to attend at least one of the dazzling Second Stage productions gracing a campus stage near you.* The director of each show will explain why you should take time out of your week to check out hir play.
*No Argus Arts editors have seen any of the below mentioned plays performed. For all we know, they could be awful.
Wednesday, May 8, 7 p.m.
Friday, May 10, 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Saturday, May 11, 12 p.m., 3 p.m., and 7 p.m.
Director Dylan Zwickel ’14: So I wrote my play. It is set in a world in which human hearts look like mini violins. You get it when you’re a kid—you switch out your human heart for a violin heart, and then it’s there, so then if it breaks, you have to take it to someone to fix it, and someone has to make it in the first place. So the first act is about the person who makes the hearts, and the second act is about the person who fixes the hearts and their relationships with different people. So it’s the same actors in both acts but as different characters, and they’re connected in a way that will become apparent. And the fun thing about this production is that I wrote it so that any of the characters could be cast with either gender, so you’re supposed to just cast the person who’s best for the part. So we have four actors even though it’s only a two-person cast, and so each performance is a different combination of two actors. For example, if you come on Friday at nine, you’ll see Leah [Rosen ’13]and Tess [Jonas ’15], but if you come Saturday at seven, you’ll see Leah and Scotty [Shoemaker ’13].
Actor Rosen: We all get a chance to play all four of the characters in the play.
DZ: You should come multiple times because then you can tell us what you think of how it works with different actors, different genders, all that stuff. We’re having talkbacks. People should stay and give us their feedback. This is a staged reading going up in Fayerweather. I wanted it to be about the script and the actors, not the production value.
“The Language Archive”
Friday, May 10, 8 p.m.
Saturday, May 11, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Director Josh Cohen ’14: “The Language Archive” is written by Julia Cho. It’s a play about a linguist who’s incredibly drawn by how languages build worlds and how the way that we communicate forms our relationships. Except he and the people around him are incredibly incoherent in getting their messages across. He and his wife are just bickering about how they have no idea what the other one means, his lab assistant has unrequited love for him for years and years that she just never [expressed]. He brings in a couple from a far away land that speaks a dying language to record it. But they’re such an old married couple, and they’re fighting so much, and their language is so beautiful that they refuse to fight in it and will only speak in English.
It’s a play that goes to a lot of places and touches on how disconnected we really are just because we don’t really know what other people are trying to say to us and what they’re thinking. Our cast is five people playing…I should know this, but I want to say 12 characters. There are three actors—Richie [Starzec ’14], Sophie [Zinser ’16], and Olivia [May ’14]—playing one character, and Matt [Krakaur ’14] and Margaret [Curtis ’16] are playing the remainder.
“Hamlet in Wonderland: A Work in Progress”
Russell House Backyard
Friday, May 10, 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 11, 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Director Zach Libresco ’13: We’re trying to decontextualize some narratives in the common consciousness. We were hypothesizing different ideas and stories, and this is the one we liked the most. ’Cause you take Hamlet and you put him in Alice in Wonderland, and it kind of makes sense. You combine these characters, and their given circumstances are really different, but the way they interact with their madness has points of contact. So we wanted to see what that would be like. Since sophomore year, I’ve been thinking about doing an immersive theater Hamlet piece with the old Sarah Wolfe [’12], and seeing Lily [Haje ’13]’s thesis [“Fire and Bone”] and seeing how you can use space in really interesting ways was part of the motivator behind this too.
[On why you should come see it:] Well, the energy is going to be really high. I mean, it’s two stories that you already know and love combined. It’s under an hour—it’s 50 minutes—, [so] it’s definitely worth the time investment. There’s nothing I hate more than a two-and-a-half-hour play that you get nothing out of. We’re hoping if you’re not entertained, you’ll at least be offended—that’s what we’re aiming for. [Laughs.]
[On his last show at Wes:] There are people from all different backgrounds, we pulled in a couple of our friends to play some parts not from an actor background but more from a movement background, and what they have to contribute is mind-blowing. My teacher [Associate Professor of Theater] Claudia Noscimiento is always saying that theater is an interdisciplinary genre—like performance art tries to claim one thing, music another thing, dance another thing, and theater is using the visual arts, it’s using music, it’s using dance, it’s using all these different things, and we’ve got people from all these different backgrounds coming together on this piece. So what I like doing is asking the cast a question, and then they figure it out because they’re so smart. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people for a last performance, not one bit.