Closer: An Unconventional Senior IP

“Closer” radiated unconventionality. When its 45 audience members walked into Tang; they were immediately directed to sit on the stage, facing the seats they thought they would fill, to view Molly Shoemaker’s Senior Independent Project, and from those first moments on, it was clear that the director had carefully orchestrated every detail of the show, making the production thoroughly original. The play included profanity, prompting Shoemaker and Theatre Instructor Mark Efinger to warn the audience, via an insert in the program, that “The language and content in ‘Closer’ would be considered ‘adult’ by any rating board.” They further advised those who would be uncomfortable to offer their ticket to someone else. When asked why she chose to direct “Closer,” Shoemaker said, “I immediately thought of ‘Closer’ because I knew it had an intimate cast. I was also struck with the freshness. I think there are so many plays about love that are so happy. And ‘Closer’ is not a happy play. There’s not a happy ending. Everyone does not find true love. And I think that’s a really powerful thought, the thought that maybe we’ll never find true love.” The all-Senior cast of Britney Achin ’08, Cecilia Worthington ’08, Hector Cintron ’08 and Nico Hargreaves-Heald ’08 played these complex characters with intense passion and creativity. While all four contributed greatly to the overall success of the play, Hargreaves-Heald stole the spotlight with his stand-out performance as the character Larry. His hot-blooded anger and vulgarity were expertly delivered. Though Cintron was a late addition to the cast, he was well-prepared for his role. The plot of the play was compelling, but grew confusing as the show went on. Still, despite a certain lack of depth, the script was well executed by the director and actors. The choice of play for Shoemaker’s IP, or “rite of passage for a theatre kid [at Andover],” as she described it, was one that did not completely do justice to her obvious theatrical talent and ability. However, the intensity of the characters caught the audience off-guard at times, keeping them on their toes. The vulgar language and content only heightened this constant sense of surprise as the play wound itself around sex, deception, cheating, passion and choice — all topics especially of interest to a high school audience. Shoemaker’s clever use of props and lighting included several effects, such as a camera flash, that successfully distracted the audience from a background comprised of hundreds of the theatre’s seats. The unconventional seating arrangement gave the audience an intimacy with the actors. While watching, I quickly became captivated by the mystery of the characters Alice and Larry, although I found Dan and Anna’s characters frustrating, especially Dan’s fickleness and predictability. Anna was the only meek character in this smoldering, confidant play. In light of her excellent direction and the stunning performances she produced, Shoemaker should be proud of the work she has done for her Senior IP. If I could, I would see it again. Aniebiet Ekpa ’11 said, “The play was really well done. It was one of those vulgar works you watch that pushes an uncomfortable button but, in the end, is entertaining.” Shoemaker said she was “quite pleased” with the final project. However, she also said, “It’s hard, at first, to see the final project objectively because you’re bringing around ten other people in on your idea, so somewhere along the way your original ideas get warped and twisted (not in a bad way) to become the final project.” The play’s success should be recognized by our school’s community as well as those outside it. With “Closer,” Shoemaker proved herself worthy of our attention.