Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"The Inland Sea"

This past weekend, Macalester put on its fall semester main-stage production, “The Inland Sea.” It was actually the United States premiere (very exciting) of Naomi Wallace's play about 1760s rural England. The play deals with struggles of class, gender and death -- in Wallace's evocative language, provocative scenes, and vision of complex hope. The play was a component of this year’s theme within the Theater and Dance Department of amplifying the voice of the voiceless – giving voice to displaced persons, the poor, targets of hate crimes, and citizens struggling with trauma – in many instances showing how humor and solidarity are crucial strategies in giving voice, refusing silence – in the words of the department itself. It was a phenomenal play in an extremely unique setting and stage.

The entire theater was restructured in order to foster a more intimate setting, so that that both actor and spectator were one fluid unit with the fly system in the background and the scene dissecting the audience. The majority of the stage was covered in dirt and the scent of dust in the air throughout the performance providing an intense feeling of presence and engagement on the part of the viewer. Evoking oscillating feelings of hilarity, calmness, despair and confusion simultaneously, the student actors performed the piece incredibly well. At the risk of already sounding as if I am writing a review of the play I need to mention the fact that the actors were able to pull off very convincing British accents.

Directed by Macalester professor Beth Cleary, the play was put on by a crew of entirely Mac students – many of whom were friends of mine. Here is a picture of two prominent actors in the play - John Bennett '14 as Asquith Brown and Zoe Michael '13 as Hesp Turner.

I am constantly amazed by the talent of the Macalester student and their ability to put on striking performances at a professional level. I am also impressed by the fact that people have time to allot to extensive (and intensive) rehearsals to put on such a high-caliber performance on top of a full course load. Truly impressive and I commend all of the performers and workers on the show! I look forward to seeing your future work!

If you missed this performance make sure to check out future productions this year: Fall Dance Concert - December 9 and 10

“Stop Kiss” by Diana Son, directed by Cheryl Moore Brinkley
February 17, 18, 19, 23, 24 and 25

“The Laramie Project” by Moises Kauffman and the Tectonic Theatre Project, directed by Harry Waters Jr April 5, 6, 7, 12, 13 and 14

Spring Dance Concert - April 27 and 28