The Drama Lab: “The Choice” And “Surprise!”

Phillipian Arts sat in the rehearsals for tonight’s two DramaLabs, “The Choice” and “Surprise!de” and offers a preview. “The Choice” Theatre 520 student Sam Oriach ’11, ventures into unfamiliar territory as he works behind the curtain in his first DramaLab as a director. The play Oriach selected, “The Choice,” immediately throws the actors into a heated argument. The audience is witness to a tense discussion about substance abuse between two friends, Rod, played by Kevin Song ’11, and Vince, played by Aleksander Huzar ’11. The two exchange harsh comments back and forth, while questioning what has “real meaning.” Can meaning be represented as an unstable family life, or the reliable, yet dangerous, source of an escape? ??Oriach claims that although this type of play is a difficult start for a director, he has complete faith in his actors. He said, “I thought that the play had an interesting relationship between the characters. Also, the play raises awareness of drug abuse.” ?? Oriach said that his favorite part about directing was “getting the chance to show actors how to feel and what to do when [they] have to express feelings in the moment.” Oriach wants this DramaLab to be an eye-opener for students on campus. “The Choice” deals with serious issues that are relevant to people’s lives today. “Intervention is not always easy, but it’s the right thing to do because everything will work out for the best,” he said.???? “Surprise!”?? While Elizabeth Gilbert ’10 is very experienced at acting in DramaLabs, “Surprise!” will be her first time as a director. “Surprise!” is much different than Oriach’s DramaLab. The comical and witty skit deals with a mediocre psychic named Peter, played by Dan Santamaria ’11. The beginning of the DramaLab drops the audience into an argument between Peter and his girlfriend Whitney, played by Katie McLean ’12, at a diner after a dinner party. Peter’s psychic abilities are extremely limited – he can only see two minutes ahead in the future. but his power allows him to know Whitney’s intended dialogue, and he always finishes Whitney’s thoughts, which drives her crazy. Her annoyance builds up to the point where she can no longer stand being near Peter. The waitress at the diner, Esther, played by Cat Cleveland ’11, witnesses the argument and makes sure Peter is in for a surprise he will never forget.?? Gilbert said that she was? “surprised at how fast the actors grasped their characters.” Gilbert chose this play because it is a “fun first time play to direct. It is easier to direct a funny play more so than it is to direct an intense tragic one.” Gilbert said that she is not really nervous for the show tonight. “I want to make sure my actors are comfortable. We are going to have a lot of fun,” she said.