“Captive Audience” and “The Actor’s Nightmare”

The Phillipian previews tonight’s two DramaLabs. “Captive Audience” by David Ives Have you ever wondered if your TV is secretly watching your every move, plotting to take over your life—its sole purpose is making sure that you’re “staying tuned?” “Captive Audience,” directed by Miranda Haymon ’12, is a DramaLab centered around this crazy yet hilarious idea. “I wanted something that would make the audience not only laugh, but think, ‘Wow, I have done some pretty strange things in front of this thing, I wonder what it knows,’” said Haymon. The play follows one seemingly ordinary night in the lives of married couple Laura and Rob, played by Charlotte Cleveland ’11 and ?Ryan Morris ’09, and captures the silly relationship between the couple and their TV, played together by Scott Dzialo ’09 and Elizabeth Gilbert ’10. Laura is desperately competing against the distracting TV for her husband’s attention. However, Laura finds herself caught in a schism between giving in to the compelling TV man and woman or her insatiable desire to go out for a change. All the while, the TV is constantly battling for supremacy against its owners in the form of its irresistible “stay tuned” message. “My actors are fabulous, and even when they make mistakes I don’t mind because all I want from them is enthusiasm. Really, I think that’s what an audience wants too, something entertaining,” Haymon said. Although the plot can be hard to follow at times, the TV man and woman’s comical and at times a bit psychotic characters bring an animation and captivating energy to the play that certainly make this Drama Lab a must-see. “The Actor’s Nightmare” by Christopher Durang. Have you ever been trapped in a place, situation or role that you completely don’t fit into? Directed by the talented Calista Small ’10, “The Actor’s Nightmare” takes an amusing albeit frightening look at a man who is thrown on stage and expected to act, without having any clue what he is doing. In this play within a play, Sam Oriach ’11 plays Elliot, a dumbfounded accountant who is dropped into a theater where he is suddenly forced to act by Apsara Iyer ’12. He not only has no idea what his lines are, but he does not even know what play he is starring in. In a shuffle of confusion and frustration, Oriach is shoved into the play “Private Lives” alongside co-star Kate Chaviano ’12. Next he meets Ian Corey ’12 in what is supposed to be a scene from the famed “Hamlet.” Oriach altogether butchers both scenes, due to his inexperience and utter bewilderment, in an entertaining mix of awkwardness, ignorance and oblivion. “I am most excited to see the audience’s response to the play, whether they think it is funny, sad or scary,” Small said. Even though this DramaLab is Small’s first legitimate piece as a director, “The Actor’s Nightmare” is one play fully capable of keeping its audience engaged.