Drama Lab Previews

After last Friday’s turnout of over 120 students in the theatre classroom for the Drama Labs, I certainly hope this week’s attendance will remain strong this week; these newest two plays are not to be missed. Eric Elliot’s “Snack Time,” directed by Bijan Torabi ’10, offers insightful commentary on the true nature of corporate executives, while Israel Horowitz’s “Play for Germs” directed by Eamon Callison ’09 is a shocking abstract piece that is sure to evoke an immediate reaction from the audience. “Snack Time” depicts a woman (Elizabeth Gilbert ’10) stranded in the middle of an Arizonian desert who is startled to encounter a friendly, talking coyote that walks on two feet (Alexis Dawkins ’10). The coyote is rather famished, so she asks the woman if she has any food. After taking a bite of the woman’s ancient Granola bar, the two become acquainted with one another. They become friends by the end of the play (which is humorous, given that, if the coyote were so hungry, you would think she’d simply eat the defenseless woman rather than strike up conversation, but theatrical suspension of disbelief triumphs). We learn that the woman was vacationing with her husband, who, much to her disappointment and frustration, was obliged to suddenly return to his business position in Seattle. At the climax of the short play, the Devil (Chase Ebert ’09) enters, reinvented as a ruthless modern businessman, demanding to see the woman’s husband, whose soul the devil allegedly won in some sort of shady business transaction. However, when the Devil threatens to take the woman’s soul instead, she cleverly saves both her and her husband’s souls, in a surprise ending that Drama Lab patrons will have to wait to see. “Snack Time” is a true example of the magic in Drama Lab theatre. Torabi has never directed before, and his entire cast is comprised of Drama Lab newcomers. However, both the director and his cast were completely willing to dive into the unfamiliar territory. “The whole process of directing and working with my actors was very intuitive,” wrote Torabi in an email to The Phillipian. “All three of my actors were capable and enthusiastic about the play, which was all I really needed.” Eamon Callison ’09 chose to direct “Play for Germs” by the renowned playwright Israel Horowitz because he liked “how witty and outlandish the story is,” and he thought that “the play would be enjoyable to put on.” Judging from the title, one might presume that the play is a cute, funny personification of, say, bacteria trapped inside someone’s nostrils. However, “Play for Germs” personifies not bacteria, but rather STD germs inside a fifteen-year-old girl’s uterus. Alex Cope ’09 plays Socrates, the wizened gonorrhea germ, while Declan Cummings ’09 portrays Aristotle, the more youthful syphilis germ. When Aristotle invades Socrates’ cozy, uterus abode, the two engage in hysterical dialogue involving nearly every region of the female sex organ. At once, the dangerously ambitious Aristotle wins over Socrates’ trust by naming a list of past syphilis victims that is far more impressive than gonorrhea’s victims list. Afterwards, Aristotle reveals his disturbing desire to make his innocent, teenage host suffer endlessly from his syphilis germs in an altogether shockingly graphic exchange of dialogue that will either have the audience giggling uncontrollably or gaping in awe. With this dark turn of events, the play evolves into more of a dramatic piece than a comedy. With Emily Hutchenson-Tipton ’10 playing the screaming voice of a fifteen-year old STD-victim, the play becomes instantly tragic and perhaps even relatable in the context of our modern adolescent existence. Ultimately, I think the audience will not know whether to laugh, cry, vomit or sit speechless after the performance. Think I’m being a bit extreme? Check it out for yourself this Friday night and brace yourself for a rollercoaster ride of dramatic tension.