Review of The Laramie Project

BY KELLIE-ANN MAXWELL // APRIL 21 2016 //

Over the weekend, Curry Theatre put on a wonderful production of The Laramie Project, written by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project. The play is told through a series of interviews; it chronicles the story of the murder of Matthew Shepard, an openly gay student that attended the University of Wyoming in Laramie.

Throughout the play it is revealed how Shepard was murdered, who did it, and why. It also shows just how much it affected everybody in the city as well as the movement that was started in the city following the tragic events.

The production was very moving and emotional by the end; I saw many around me that were brought to tears by the story. The actors did a fantastic job of displaying the high emotions of the situations.

However, many have said, and I agree, that it was a bit hard to follow toward the beginning; even though there was a screen displaying each character’s name as they spoke and a narrator who also explained who each character was in relation to the story. As the play progressed, the story became much easier to follow.

The set for the Curry theater production of The Laramie Project // PHOTO BY KELLIE ANN MAXWELL
The set for the Curry theater production of The Laramie Project // PHOTO BY KELLIE-ANN MAXWELL

The costuming was wonderful, and it made it much easier to tell which character was which, as some actors played multiple characters. Also, I personally quite liked the stage setup; a vaguely newspaper-ish background with coat hooks on it so that the actors could change costume on stage was very interesting.

At some points during the play the screen in the back was used to show some of the characters as though they were a news reporter, using a camera on stage to stream live-feed onto the screen. At times it was a little distracting from the play itself, but it was a really interesting concept.

Overall, it was a great production of The Laramie Project that people put a lot of hard work into and I very much enjoyed. It was easy to tell that both the audience and actors were moved by the play, as some of the performers couldn’t contain their loud sobs in the final scene which displays to a dark theater the night skyline that Matthew Shepard viewed in his last conscious moments.

The Laramie Project is an influential play that shows just how essential it is to make an effort to erase hate in the world. I commend the actors for portraying such a difficult story .

Hate Crime: Fliers for Upcoming Play Vandalized

BY KATELYNN STALABOIN // APRIL 13, 2016 //

An alleged hate crime was committed on Curry College’s campus in relation to the upcoming spring theater production.

On Friday, April 8, fliers for the school’s upcoming play “The Laramie Project” were vandalized with anti-gay slurs and inappropriate drawings in two different academic buildings, Hafer and AAPC.

The play reenacts the murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student who was beaten and tied to a fence, left for dead on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming, in 1998.

Hayden Lombardozzi, a sophomore Criminal Justice student, discovered one of the vandalized posters. The poster had an anti-gay slur written across it and was left up on the in-going door on the ground floor of Hafer. Lombardozzi is a cast member in “The Laramie Project” as well as a LGBTQ student on campus.

“It’s really easy to forget that people think that way,” Lombardozzi said of his reaction after finding the vandalized poster. “People are just like ‘fag is just a word.’ Well fag was just a word when Matthew Shepard was murdered. It’s a stepping-stone to do something worse and if it doesn’t get caught where it’s at you don’t know where someone’s going to take it.”

President of Curry College Ken Quigley made the following comment to the Currier Times:

“We deeply regret that this activity has occurred on our campus and how it has hurt members of our community, and we are currently investigating the matter. We do not believe these incidents to be reflective of the overall respectful, intelligent, inclusive and diverse environment at Curry College. The College has prioritized fostering an inclusive, diverse, and respectful campus as one of our four Strategic Plan directions, and endeavors to prevent incidents such as this from recurring. The Curry College community at large is united in this goal.”

The Curry administration has replaced each vandalized poster with a new one that reads, “This was the site of racist, religious, homophobic and/or sexist vandalism.” The flyer further reads, “We chose to remove vandalism, not to hide it, in order to not perpetuate hateful speech.”

Curry’s plan following the incident is to replace each vandalized poster with a new one acknowledging the incident. // PHOTO BY KATELYNN STALABOIN
Curry followed the incident by replacing each vandalized poster with a new one acknowledging the incident. // PHOTO BY KATELYNN STALABOIN

When asked if the campus is diverse and accepting, Curry students have mixed reactions.

“There are always going to be a population of people anywhere that doesn’t agree with another group of people,” says Mark Donlin, a sophomore Sociology major.

Others think Curry needs to harden its policies and be more proactive when it comes to hate crimes and speech.

“Curry wants their track record clean,” says Cristina Sacchi, a senior Psychology major. “To own up to something like this is a whole different thing.” She also pointed out how no one on campus has been informed formally about the incident.

“I don’t think Curry is really safe place anymore for the LGBTQ community,” says Sandra O’Donnell, a senior Education major. “I don’t understand how people can be so rude.”

The school and Milton Police are currently investigating this incident as a hate crime, according to Brian Greeley, chief of Public Safety. Curry College Public Safety is urging anyone with any information on who might be responsible for this act to please contact Public safety at 617-333-2222 or call the college’s anonymous tip line at 617-333-2159.

“The Laramie Project” will be showing Saturday, April 16 through Tuesday, April 19.

Katelynn Stalaboin, a member of the Currier Times news staff, is also involved in the production of “The Laramie Project.”

Review of Student-Written New Plays Festival

BY KELLIE-ANN MAXWELL // MARCH 10, 2016 //

The New Plays Festival took place March 5-7, showcasing four student-written plays: Family Jewels by Jillian DeSousa, Happy Birthday, Baby Girl by Shelbi Chandler, Lunch Date by Shelby Adams, and Vincent’s Fables by Jameson Vogel.

Family Jewels, directed by Professor David Miller, was the first play performed and was a brilliant way to begin the night. Family Jewels is a short play about a recent widow, confronted by her brother-in-law about a family heirloom, a diamond pendant. He was looking for proof that the woman, driven mad due to the fact that she was barren, killed her husband and mutilated him. The play culminated in a fight that ended with the widow admitting to killing her husband and getting knocked-out, and her brother-in-law finding his proof going through a chest and finding the silver pendant as well as the other family jewels.

Stage crew working on students New Plays Festival 2016 featuring plays written by students, Sat-Mon, March 5-7th, 7:30 pm, Keith Auditorium. // Photo by S. Divris
Stage crew working on students New Plays Festival 2016 featuring plays
written by students, Sat-Mon, March 5-7th, 7:30 pm, Keith Auditorium. // Photo by S. Divris

This play included wonderful acting by the cast; the combat scene toward the end was brilliantly executed in spite of the difficult stage set up. This play was written well and was a very interesting scene to see unfold in front of you.

The second play was Happy Birthday, Baby Girl, a heartwarming story about a foster family and directed by Professor John Barrett. The story was based around a baby’s birthday. Two of the host family siblings are setting up for their foster sister’s birthday when their other sister walks in and gets angry, because the baby isn’t their actual sister so why should they do all this for her. This leads their adopted sister to get upset and almost cry. As the play progresses the sister who was angry comes to a realization that it’s not a bad thing to do and they continue setting up.

As much as this play was very sweet at the end, the whole time it felt like some of the characters were overreacting. But it was very well written otherwise. It had a nice resolution and ending, and was overall an enjoyable piece to watch. I personally just felt a disconnect. However, I could understand people who actually went through similar situations really enjoying this piece.

Lunch Date, also directed by Miller, was a simple and hilarious play about three friends arguing where to have lunch. Throughout the play they go through countless arguments and try, in many different ways, to decide where to go. They eventually decide to call one of their friends and have her decide, but when they can’t reach her they move on and just continue arguing. At the end of the play it is revealed that their friend has been struck by a bus and killed, on her way to lunch.

This play included hilarious dialogue between the characters and was made better by this great sense of friendship. Everyone could instantly relate and become wrapped up in the story. It felt like a real-life argument between friends; many times I have had this type of argument with my friends. My arguments haven’t, however, ever ended in such bad news.

The final play of the night, and the longest, was Vincent’s Fables, directed by Barrett. This play was about five siblings who are reunited to celebrate their parent’s anniversary. Four of them are chatting and talking about how great their lives are while leaving out and, for the most part, ignoring their middle brother, Vincent. When they do mention him it is in a negative way and it makes him feel awful and angry. Vincent finally snaps and yells at his siblings for making him feel this way. In the second half of the play Vincent somehow finds himself in a support group, run by the god, Pan. The support group includes Vincent, Hades (god of the underworld), Lilith (a succubus), Sir Lancelot (knight of the round table), and Cleopatra (pharaoh of Egypt). Vincent slowly realizes that each of the others in the support group represent his siblings and that they all have problems of their own to deal with, but they all pretend not to.

I would love to see this piece expanded upon. I could see it being much longer; maybe even being a full play. However, I wished there was more of a resolution. We see the setup at Vincent’s family gathering, and we see him figure out that everyone else has issues too; but we never see him go back to his family gathering.  It would have been nice for the audience to be able to see how he treats his family differently after his revelations at the support group. Does he treat them differently? Does he figure out how to communicate better with them now that he knows they’re not perfect? I feel as though there could be a lot more to the story that the audience just wasn’t given.

A Look Behind the Curtain of the New Plays Festival

Professor Nina Hofman’s Photojournalism class stopped by the Keith Auditorium for a behind the scenes look at the production of some of Curry’s spring theater performances. The result? Lots of laughter, and some amazing photos. Be sure to attend this weekend’s New Plays Festival featuring student written plays. Original works include “Family Jewels” by senior Jillian DeSousa, “Happy Birthday Baby Girl” by junior Shelbi Chandler, “Lunch Date” by senior Shelby Adams, and “Vincent’s Fables” by senior Jameson Vogel.

The plays will run from Saturday March 5, through Monday March 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Keith Auditorium’s Black Box theater. Tickets are $10, $5 with a Curry student ID. For more info, check out https://www.curry.edu/theatre.html

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Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

BY JOSEPH CAPOZZO // APRIL 30, 2015 //

Entering the Keith Auditorium not knowing what to expect is what made this year’s Curry College Main Stage performance, of the Shakespearean classic “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” so extravagant and beautiful.

A more knowledgeable theater attendee might have noticed something slightly different about the famous comedy. In the first few lines, the character Theseus brags to Hippolyta that he “won her with his sword,” meaning their marriage was forced.

To provide some historical background, Technical Director John Barrett, a professor in the Communication Department, added an entirely new fight scene into the play—and made it the very first scene. The play ran from April 18-21. Barrett explained that he included the scene as a way of better informing the audience about the background of Theseus’ and Hippolyta’s relationship.

Theater

Said Stage Manager Rachel Bacos, a freshman psychology major: “The play is a love story where the mythical realm and human realm collide…and chaos ensues.”

The scene featured no added lines, only a battle between the kingdoms led by the Amazon queen Hippolyta and Theseus, of Athens, who battle each other at center stage. Members of their kingdoms battled beside them on either side of the stage.

Theseus’ men eventually restrain Hippolyta’s female assistants, leaving Hippolyta (sophomore communication major Megan Kosciak) and Theseus (senior communication major Mahmoud El-Zeftaway) to battle for the remainder of the scene until Hippolyta is defeated as well.

I must say that the battle scene had a huge impact on my perspective. In reflection, I realize I would not have paid much attention to the line about Theseus winning Hippolyta, and may have not attributed it to the way she acted on stage. However, having seen the battle before hearing any dialogue, I went into the experience knowing that there was some bad blood still left behind, and surely, some anger left brewing.

This small but major addition to the play was an excellent way of educating the audience about some underlying themes presented in the original script.

Of course, credit is due to those who put together all aspects of this show, including the 23 actors. Some have been working on their roles since the fall semester. Eleven were second semester seniors (El-Zeftaway, Carley Bonacci, Megan Cole, Nick Doonan, Ari Goldberg, Vanessa Kelly, Julia Levine, Kelly O’Donnell, Krystal Sears, Carlota Velazco, Nicole DelTorto and Laura Hartman).

The costume designer this year was a guest artist of Curry College. Elizabeth Tustian has worked with Barrett over the course of 20 years.

Professor Sarah Rozene-Wolski did the sets and lighting, and given that almost the entire play is set under the moonlight, the lighting cues were rather complex. She was also the shop foreman, and taught the stage crew class as well as oversaw theatre tech hours.

The following students were involved in the production side of the show: Goldberg (production director), Shelby Adams and Kosciak (lighting directors), Emma McDonnell (light board operator), Michael Carnevale (sound director), Bex DeSimone (sound operator), Marissa Edwards (costume manager), Dre Alexander (assistant costume manager), Cole (hair and makeup), Julia Friedman (props manager), Taylor Hays (assistant props manager), Carley Bonacci (scenic painter), Cortney Hammersley (assistant scenic painter) and Velazco (sound designer).

These students worked countless hours to put together the visual and audible aspects of the show—from the loud thunderstorms created by the angry Titania (Cole), to the decorated platforms leading to either side of the set, allowing Puck (Goldberg) to scurry stage left to right while misleading his disoriented victims, the show delivered the audience a deeply sensory experience.

The cast included:

El-Zeftaway (Theseus), Kosciak (Hippolyta), Velazco (Hippolyta’s attendant), Levine (Philostrate), Professor David Miller of the Library Department (Egeus), Bonacci (Hermia), Jameson Vogel (Lysander), Colin Grant (Demetrius), O’Donnell (Helena), Jaquan Harris (Peter Quince), Mikey Joyce (Nick Bottom), Carnevale (Francis Flute), Jimmy Bonneau (Starveling), Jeffrey Nunn (Snout), Adams (Snug), Goldberg (Puck), Elaina Druid (Fairy), Cole (Titania), Doonan (Oberon), Kelly (Peaseblossom), Nicolette Moyer (Moth), Brett Duffy (Cobweb), Sears (Mustardseed)

The stage manager was Rachel Bacos, the assistant stage manager was Jenn Tegnell, DelTorto served as general manager. The director of the theater concentration is Professor DL Garren of the Communication Department.