The Oberlin Review

Student-Written OSTA Play Discusses Yiddish Culture

Student-Written OSTA Play Discusses Yiddish Culture

February 15, 2019

Dressed in their 1920s best, Oberlin Student Theater Association actors took the stage last night for the opening performance of College senior Claire Abramovitz’s original period piece play A Nacht A Sheyne. The Yiddish-inspired dramatic comedy explores the generational tension between traditionally minded parents and their assimilationist children as both groups attempt to navigate early 20th-century America.  A Nacht A Sheyne revolves around a night in the Resnik family home and is filled w...

Best Picture Countdown: “Green Book”

Kabir Karamchandani, Staff Writer

February 15, 2019

Filed under ARTS, Arts, Theater & Film

Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen shine in Green Book, a by-the-numbers film about a Black pianist and his white valet on a tour through the Deep South. Oscar-bait through and through, what the movie lacks in innovation it makes up for in execution. Director Peter Farrelly deftly handles the film’s sensitive subject matter, making the movie feel cliché at points, but never heavy-handed or forced. Green Book is character-driven from the start, opening with a scene that has no relevance to the plot but sets up Mortensen’s Tony Lip as the stereotypical Italian-American New Yorker of the 1960s. When this rough-talking, hot dog-guzzling club bouncer is hired to drive and protect Black pianist Dr. Don Shirley on hi...

Best Picture Countdown: “The Favourite”

Liz Stewart

February 15, 2019

Filed under ARTS, Arts, Theater & Film

The two posh period dramas of the year, Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite and Josie Rourke’s Mary Queen of Scots, both focus on female royalty from a feminist perspective but do so in opposite ways. The former refreshingly reframes historical material while deconstructing the genre’s high-brow elitism — most period-pieces are suffused with snobbish dialogue. The latter, unfortunately, falls relatively flat.  There was a time when Mary Queen of Scots might have cruised to major nominations because of its traditional, theater-inspired style, leaving Lanthimos’ absurdist film stranded on the outskirts of awards season. The Favourite is ultimately enticing “anti-Oscar bait” that may yet garner a win in at least o...

Best Picture Countdown: “Roma”

Liz Stewart

February 15, 2019

Filed under ARTS, Arts, Theater & Film

 Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma has the potential to become the first ever foreign-language film to win Best Picture. Its simple yet touching story, skilled camera work, and sound design set it apart from its competitors, boasting the kind of pedigree the Academy craves. It thoughtfully caters to an intellectual audience while remaining digestible enough for anybody to enjoy.  And perhaps these are the qualities, along with its release on Netflix in addition to the big screen, that have allowed Roma to break the curse that sometimes inhibits foreign language films from receiving Best Picture nominations, as they tend to be unfairly overlooked or pigeonholed into a single category. With a whopping ten nominations, Roma...

Oberlin Emeritus Professor Recognized for Grafton Productions

Roman Broszkowski, Senior Staff Writer

February 8, 2019

Filed under ARTS, Arts, Theater & Film

 The Ohio Arts Council recently announced that Phyllis Gorfain, Oberlin Professor of English Emerita, had won its 2019 Ohio Arts Administration Award. This award is one of several categories of the Governor’s Award for the Arts in Ohio. Gorfain was nominated for her role in founding Oberlin Drama at Grafton, a theater group that operates within the Grafton Correctional Institution, located about 20 minutes from Oberlin.  ODAG helps to put on inmate-acted plays inside Grafton, providing incarcerated people the opportunity to engage with theatrical works in collaboration with Oberlin students and volunteers. While the group grew from Gorfain’s earlier work, she is quick to insist that its roots come from all it...

Best Picture Countdown: A Star Is Born

Liz Stewart

February 8, 2019

Filed under ARTS, Arts, Theater & Film

In today’s cinematic era riddled with countless mediocre remakes and sequels, Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut A Star is Born has refreshed Hollywood’s current creative dry spell by subverting the standard remake. Cooper knows how to properly recreate a timely classic, adding even more purpose and heart to a screenplay that was already laden with emotion — A Star is Born is a necessary deviation from our tragic status quo. Cooper presents familiar material with a new twist, allowing the film to stand alone from its predecessors. It still tells the story of an impulsive rockstar, whose fame declines while his formerly working-class girlfriend ascends to stardom. However, 2018’s A Star is Born is more int...

Best Picture Countdown: Black Panther

Kabir Karamchandani

February 8, 2019

Filed under ARTS, Arts, Theater & Film

Marvel Studios is notorious for churning out movies that are fun to watch but lack substance and depth, which makes Black Panther a pleasant surprise. The film sets a new bar for the genre, with a compelling villain and a semi-nuanced debate of a politically relevant issue. In a time rife with xenophobia and immigration issues, Black Panther tackles serious questions about whether a country’s responsibilities extend beyond its borders and whether those in power have a responsibility to help those who are not. The film handles these issues with surprising tact, painting them as a debate rather than the black-and-white depiction of disagreements usually found in superhero films.  Despite this, the film still remains somewhat hamstrung by its g...

Best Picture Countdown: Bohemian Rhapsody

Kabir Karamchandani

February 8, 2019

Filed under ARTS, Arts, Theater & Film

A music-packed ode to Freddie Mercury, Bohemian Rhapsody is, unfortunately, more style than substance. While the score is sure to entertain any Queen fans, the biopic is far from true to its source material and lacks coherence and a consistent story thread. The movie is scattered from the opening. Within the span of a few minutes, the focus quickly switches from scenes of Mercury’s home life to a musical performance, to his introduction to his future band-mates, and finally to his first meeting with his future wife. The beginning chaotically sets up up various elements of the plot that never quite come together. Instead, the film jumps from song to song for the majority of its runtime — which isn’t actually a bad ...

B.J. Tindal, OC ’16, Playwright

B.J. Tindal, OC ’16, Playwright

February 8, 2019

B.J. Tindal, OC ’16, wrote the upcoming theater mainstage production, What We Look Like. At Oberlin, Tindal majored in Theater and Africana Studies before earning his MFA at Northwestern University’s Writing for the Screen and Stage program. Tindal won the 2019 Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition with his Oberlin senior capstone project, Goodnight, Tyler, which will go up at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta this month. What We Look Like is the first play that Tindal wrote ...

Lauren Elwood, Choreographer

Lauren Elwood, Choreographer

December 7, 2018

Lauren Elwood is a College sophomore from Bangor, Maine, who’s making her Oberlin mainstage debut as choreographer of —and a dancer in — the acclaimed musical Cabaret. Elwood, a Dance and Theater double major, also performed in Oberlin Musical Theater Association’s Heathers last year as a member of the ensemble. Cabaret is based off a book by Joe Master. The music for the show was written by John Kander, OC ’51, with lyrics by Fred Ebb. Cabaret centers on the relationship between Cliff...

Science Gets a Theatrical Spin with “Copenhagen”

Science Gets a Theatrical Spin with “Copenhagen”

November 30, 2018

Copenhagen, a play by Michael Frayn that explores a mystery of modern history, debuted yesterday in South Studios, and will run through Saturday, Dec. 1. In the play, the spirits of Werner Heisenberg, Niels Bohr, and Niels’ wife Margrethe discuss why Heisenberg went to Copenhagen to meet Bohr during the height of WWII. Heisenberg, the lead physicist for the Nazi nuclear project, risked his life to visit his friend and mentor Bohrs, a Jewish physicist with ties to the Allied powers. In the af...

“A Man In the House” Celebrates Family Ties

“A Man In the House” Celebrates Family Ties

November 30, 2018

This weekend will mark the opening of A Man In the House, an Oberlin Student Theater Association production. Written by Elinore Siminovitch, the play takes place in 1937 Montreal and chronicles the lives of Lily, a progressive trade unionist, her daughter Jenny, who rejects her mother’s aspirations for her to attend medical school, and Lily’s mother, who cares deeply about her family but resists progress. A boarder comes to live with them as the first man in their house and the strikes up a romance...

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