The Drama Lab: “Fourteen,” “The Tarantino Variation” and “Post-Its”

Phillipian Arts sat in the rehearsals for tonight’s two DramaLabs, “Not Heroes,” “Matterhorn” and “Variations on the Death of Trotsky.” Here is a preview of the shows. Fourteen Has it ever occurred to you how much frenzied effort goes into what seems like the most polished dinner party? “Fourteen” by Alice Gerstenberg brings the audience behind the scenes, showing the chaos concealed underneath the perfection. Taking a step away from the typical, modern-day romance DramaLabs, “Fourteen” gives the audience a refreshing and humorous glimpse at the past, incorporating everything from an overactive telephone to the Prince of Wales. Director Rachel Ryu ’12 said, “This play is interesting because it’s a period piece that’s funny in a subtle way.” Mrs. Pringle, a prim Victorian lady, feels as though it will be the end of the world if her fancy dinner party is a flop. Along with her silently rebellious daughter Elaine (Nikki Shen ’12) and her butler (Ian Corey ’12), Mrs. Pringle fusses over every detail in hopes of presenting the perfect dinner. “There’s a lot of fighting, shouting and confusion,” said Ryu, “but all of the characters contribute equally to the disorder.” Ryu also noted that the hardest part for her actors had been making the old-fashioned humor in “Fourteen” relevant to today’s audience. However, Ryu said that all three of the actors portrayed their characters well and made the period piece favorable and unique. What will happen in the end? Will Mrs. Pringle be able to hold her fancy dinner party or will everything end in disaster? You’ll have to come to the DramaLabs to find out! ? The Tarantino Variation A play about mafia women wielding weapons might seem terrifying and intense, but “The Tarantino Variation” by Seth Kramer has an unexpectedly humorous side to it. The play starts out with three women, played by Jackie Murray ’13, Maddie Hill ’13 and Melina Prentakis ’11, who all draw guns on each other, each trying to kill their target without getting shot themselves. According to director Elizabeth Gilbert ’10, it is the quirky characters and their “unrealistic reactions” that make the show funny to watch. Directing the show was not easy, however. Gilbert said, “It was very challenging to direct because the script left a lot of room for interpretation.” Since the dialogue does not make the characters’ personalities clear, Gilbert and her actors experimented with a variety of character personas. They ended up creating three quirky, extravagant individuals, each with her own life story. Instead of being typical “James Bond-like” assassins, the gunwomen in this play do not know what they are doing and have misguided, comical objectives. Exploring the plot in such detail proved difficult for Gilbert, but she said it was a good learning experience. Ridiculous and whimsically unrealistic, “The Tarantino Variation” is sure to hit home with audiences. The hilarious progression from the instant tension of the initial gun scene to the eventual disintegration of the unusual characters makes this DramaLab a must-see. ? Post-Its The lights go up. An man (Sam Oriach ’11) and a woman (Nikita Lamba ’11) walk in from opposite sides of the stage and sit down in identical chair-table apparatuses. “Post-Its,” directed by Miranda Haymon ’12, is unusual and creative because the dialog is nothing more than the actors reading post-it notes that they have written to each other aloud. As the play unfolds through these notes, it becomes clear that the couples’ relationship has its ups and downs but will eventually end happily. Even though there is no actual dialogue between the two, Haymon said that the play is “actually easier for the audience to follow” because it relays its message concisely. “Everything the actors say is important,” said Haymon. Haymon tried to make the smaller details more apparent and universal, so that the audience would be able to relate to them. As the characters go through typical situations that evoke anger or affection, everyone can pinpoint something familiar in their relationship. The most unique feature of “Post-Its,” besides the floor being scattered with various colored sticky notes, is that Haymon has divided the stage in two and arranged the set so that the man’s side and the woman’s side are symmetrical. Haymon said she felt this would helps the audience understand the changes that the characters undergo during the play. This concept of change was difficult for Haymon to depict in such a short play, yet she still manages to show how the couples’ relationship fixes itself as the man and woman get older. Although “Post-Its” by Paul Dooley and Winnie Holzman is chock-full of humorous tid-bits, it is hardly a gooey, overly sentimental play about love. Rather, it takes a lighthearted approach to real-life relationships, portraying them at their best and the worst. So don’t forget to stick a post-it on your wall. You don’t want to miss this DramaLab!