DramaLab Previews: “The Duck Variations” and “Hello Out There”

“The Duck Variations,” by David Mamet It turns out Benjamin Button isn’t the only man who ages backwards. This Friday, the DramaLabs will present to you two chatty, “sophisticated” gentlemen who prove to be whiny, immature little children in persona. Starring Andrei Macovei ’09 and Dan Aronov ’11, “The Duck Variations,” directed by Jean Fang ’09, is a dialogue between two old men discussing the principle, the life and the mating habits of ducks. Ducks, ducks and more ducks make up the entirety of their conversation as the men sit on a park bench overlooking a lake. The small talk then turns to serious conversation revealing their true feelings about friendship, natural law and death. They comment on the happenings of the world and pose philosophical and scientific inquiries. Then a little competition begins to form; the two strive to impress one another, using lengthy words and sophisticated vocabulary. Just as the discussion begins to sound remotely impressive, the senior citizens turn out to be nothing more than two old nut-jobs. One falsely believes the blue heron to be the duck’s “hereditary enemy,” while the other believes that the two species achieve a sym’beeeee’otic relationship in which the ducks “benefit” from the mutual relation is to be consumed by the heron. Macovei said, “It was fun to do the whole play, and I got the opportunity to get as stupid as I can, make weird noises like old guys and make grim faces.” The fight to impress the other gets dirty. Macovei, who begins to lose the discussion, behaves like a baby on the verge of tears and desperately rejects Aronov’s argument with the notorious “I can’t hear yooou” tactic. “The Duck Variations,” doesn’t only consist of simple humor. Macovei said, “Basically, this play is half comedy, half philosophical. These guys are funny and stupid, but if you analyze the lines, you can find the meaning behind them.” “Hello Out There,” by William Saroyan Light humor isn’t all the DramaLabs are offering this Friday. DramaLab veteran Eric Sirakian ’10 will be directing “Hello Out There,” a grave, serious love story between two lonesome beings. The plot is rather simple: a young man (Daniel Schultz ’12) is in jail for allegedly raping the wife (Lily Shaffer ’10) of the husband (Will Adams ’11). Emily (Isabel Elson ’12) is the cook of the jail Schultz is held in, and both become attracted to one another, as they are both outcasts in need of company. Schultz and Elson prepared some romantic scenes for the night, sure to embarrass the audience. Elson said, “Because [Emily is] so innocent, I took that role to the extreme. And this DramaLab is a bit serious, and I think this will be a change. It’s my first DramaLab…it’s pretty exciting!” Schultz urges Elson to help him escape so that they can run away to San Francisco, before Adams comes to lynch him. As time runs out, Schultz and Elson’s romance is at stake and things get ugly. Will they fulfill their dreams and reach San Francisco as lovers? Or will Adams crush their blossoming romance? Adams said, “I think it’s going to be really great. It’s different than most drama labs. [It’s] a bit longer, it’s got a dark tone to it. Eric’s been a fantastic director throughout, he’s been willing to go there; take extra steps to create something that’s going to be very interesting to watch.” So, if you find yourself in utter exhaustion preparing for tests or if you find yourself bored in the midst of Senior Spring, come today to catch these fabulous shows.