Last week, the Tim Russert Department of Communication & Theatre Arts presented three one acts for their fall 2012 line up. The plays were wonderfully executed and revolved around a continuous theme of working through relationships.
“The Jewish Wife,” directed by senior Sara Abbott, is about one woman’s struggle to leave her husband for her own safety during the months leading up to World War II. Sophomore Marie Bshara took on the role of Judith Keith, the housewife who fears for her safety. When Bshara’s character has to call her friends to explain her soon-to-be departure, she has every moment, expression and bodily posture perfectly ready, which makes her presence a relatable reality.
Senior William Linville, who plays Bshara’s husband, comes in at the end with a slight lack of inflection that seems to make the ending a little more obscure: pointing more into a direction of contemplation or frustration than that of tragedy. The delivery was confusing in the end, causing the audience to not be able to pinpoint which set of emotions was to be on stage.
“Talk To Me Like The Rain… And Let Me Listen,” directed by Bo Smith, was perhaps the highlight of the three plays. Junior Emily Stolfer and senior Owen Timlin played a couple that danced around themes that revolved around their own depressions. Timlin’s character revealed an aggressive streak and not only told, but showed Stolfer and the audience what pain and torture he was living with on a daily basis.
What’s so brilliant about the play, the acting and direction of this version, is that the ambiguity keeps the audience from knowing exactly what Timlin’s character does for a living.
The blocking showcased the character’s many dimensions, allowing the actors to not only develop a connection with one another, but the audience as well
Stolfer’s monologue about leaving and heading to a beach to remain on the shore, hidden from anyone she knows for eternity, is spell-binding and bound to give anyone goosebumps. Her depression goes hand-in-hand with Timlin’s volatility and combines into a perfect circle around the audience. Stolfer and Timlin capture the audience into focusing completely and solely on their story.
The only comedy in the bunch, “Math For Actors,” directed by Ali Karolczak, was certainly the funniest and most animated. Sophomore Liz Malloy and senior J.P. Bolton played a great back-and-forth banter concerning love, math and theater. Bolton’s simple cheek-and-tongue response captivated the audience, and Malloy’s frustration was relatable. The comic timing seems almost natural to these two, as they throw out math problems and wrong answers like a battleground.
As the play goes on, flirtatious romance begins to blossom. Malloy and Bolton put on such a romance that one might expect to see them holding hands backstage. Malloy and Bolton’s coy high-school romance works very well in delivering this comedy, playing up the juvenile tendencies that Bolton holds onto, including his “thespian” characteristics.
The slightly predictable ending is delivered with such compassion and humor that you don’t mind the small clichés and focus instead on the cute energy that emanates from Malloy and Bolton. This play gave a great ending to a series of one-acts that were powerful, intimate and asked whether relationships can work in a variety of time and settings.