Theatre Preview

“The secret of flight lies in the assurance that we are worthy of flying.” So says Dorothea, played by Olivia Mascheroni ’06 in the drama lab “Eleemosynary,” directed by James Flynn ’07 that opens this Friday. Dorothea is grandmother to Echo, played by Anabel Bacon ’09. Mary Doyle ’08 plays Echo’s mother and Dorothea’s daughter, Artie. Bacon stars as a young girl who works to be a spelling-bee champion. Echo has a passion for words that her mother finds hard to understand. Throughout the play, Echo narrates, exposing some of her innermost thoughts and feelings. “Sometimes it’s difficult to go from the scene to the narrator,” Bacon comments on her role as Echo. The play highlights the relationship between the three women and the pressure mothers put on their daughters rather than the spelling-bees. “Echo takes characteristics from her mother and her grandmother to make a personality of her own, but she hasn’t quite figured out how to do that yet,” Mascheroni explains. Flynn says he first heard part of the piece performed as a monologue during an audition. After reading the script all the way through, he greatly enjoyed it. “It’s a fun play that draws on a lot of personal experiences,” Flynn comments. “It has great writing, and it’s so customizable, we’re making it our own.” The set is composed of only fundamentals. Only two blocks and a single chair adorn the stage, and the actors mime most of the props. Such an uncluttered stage brings the focus to the all-female cast. The performance was only around ten minutes long. A lot happens in a short amount of time, which creates a plot that is fast-paced and gripping. The show was intense and connected with the many who saw it. The second performance of the evening was “The Heidi Chronicles,” directed by Alice Nam ’07. The show begins in the ’60s and continues through the ’80s, following the life of a woman named Heidi, played by Jen Downing ’08. The performance begins when Heidi is in high school and follows her through her adult life when she becomes an art historian. “She’s navigating the craze of the ’60s and ’70s and going through all that happened during that time,” says Nam. According to Nam, Heidi calls herself a feminist. A woman who used to having everything in life handed to her, she does not like to give things up. She speaks her mind when she has something to say, and she can be brutally honest. “She chooses her words carefully,” Nam observes. Nam describes the show as “a feminist’s play.” Heidi is being pulled in opposite directions by two people while she trying to explore the middle ground. “Heidi doesn’t really have her own opinion,” Nam remarks. “She just goes with the flow.” Nam works hard with the actors to give every line of the play as much life as possible. From perfecting the dramatic pauses, Nam has put much time, thought and energy into the performance. “It’s equally serious as it is comic, and most of the time it’s both,” she comments. Both shows go up this Friday, January 13, at 6:45 in the Theater Classroom.