The Oberlin Review

Franz, Osborn Direct Riveting, Dynamic Production of Ives’ “Venus in Fur”

Liz Cooper

March 9, 2018

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

College sophomore Meg Franz made a landmark directorial debut alongside senior Will Osborn Friday night with a lean, sharp, riveting production of Venus in Fur. The script, by contemporary playwright David Ives, features Thomas Novachek (Osborn), a working playwright trying to direct his own adaptation of Venus in Furs, the infamous 1870 sadomasochistic novel by Austrian author Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. As Novacheck begins staging his own piece, he enters into a strange and increasingly unsettling dynamic with Vanda Jordan (College sophomore Samantha Brooks), an actress on the opposite side of Novachek’s casting table. At first, Jordan appears to be the crystallization of Novachek’s impression of a modern actres...

“Annihilation” Brings Weird Fiction to Big-Budget Filmmaking

Christian Bolles, Editor-in-Chief

March 9, 2018

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

Editor’s note: This article contains mentions of depression and self-harm. “That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons even death may die.” Among all of H.P. Lovecraft’s mind-bending prose, this sentence may come closest to a thesis statement for weird fiction, the genre his writing popularized. The word “weird” seems to exist in the uncanny periphery of our understanding of the world. Weird fiction, then, is gothic horror written to instill a terror that lingers far longer than any work of pure horror. Toward the close of the first act of Alex Garland’s Annihilation, five women stand before a shifting wall, reminiscent of the polychrome texture of a bubble which may as well be an e...

“Keep It Gay” Evokes LGBTQ+ Pride with Queer Music

Russell Jaffe, Staff Writer

March 2, 2018

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

Oberlin was dazzled by its newest Oberlin Musical Theater Association musical showcase, Keep It Gay, which ran last Thursday through Saturday under the direction of College junior Julia Peterson. The showcase featured a collection of musical songs that had been “queered” or were queer and both tore at heartstrings and invoked laughter. Peterson, along with assistant director and College first-year Mia Fox and co-music directors College sophomore Paul Lawrence and College junior Alex Ngo, organized the showcase as a celebration of queer identity, delivering an important reminder of the values that hold the Oberlin community together. As the cast pointedly sang in I Am What I Am, “It’s my song, and if you don...

“Black Panther” Shakes Foundations of Race, Gender Norms

Kameron Dunbar

February 23, 2018

Filed under ARTS, Recent Stories, Theater & Film

The world was watching Wakanda last weekend as Black Panther opened in theaters across North America, as it should have been — Black Panther is a landmark film for America, and in many ways a pivotal expression of Blackness in film. Some have posited Black Panther as a referendum on the financial and cultural salience of centering Blackness rather than relegating it to supporting roles. Appropriately released in the heat of Black History Month, the movie collected $241.9 million dollars in North American box office sales over the four-day President’s Day weekend. The movie’s success continues as it quickly approaches the $500 million mark globally. Wakanda, where the film is set, is a fictional African nati...

Winter Term Playwriting Project Ends with Varied Performance at Cat

Winter Term Playwriting Project Ends with Varied Performance at Cat

February 16, 2018

A student returns to her room with a body bag, having accidentally killed a professor as a result of her plan to get expelled from school. Divine beings or “winds” commiserate, as they recount their stories of human beings from their heavenly vantage point, or “views from above.” An elderly woman tricks a young volunteer into aiding her to plan a crime, hoping to get caught and incarcerated in order to escape a nursing home. These are three of the scenes that played out on stage at the Cat ...

Alum’s Pulitzer-Winning Opera Presents Dark, Twisted Plot

Alum’s Pulitzer-Winning Opera Presents Dark, Twisted Plot

February 9, 2018

Editor’s note: This article contains discussion of human trafficking, violence, sexual assault, and suicide, as well as spoilers for the opera Angel’s Bone. Pulitzer-winning opera Angel’s Bone, which ended its Oberlin run on Wednesday after five sold-out performances, offers no easy answer for complex social issues. The opera follows a struggling suburban couple, Mr. and Mrs. X.E. (Conservatory sophomore Shawn Roth and double-degree sophomore Alexis Reed, respectively), who discover two angels ...

“The Maids” Delivers Stunning, Subversive Performance

“The Maids” Delivers Stunning, Subversive Performance

February 9, 2018

The Maids, a richly sinister play by Jean Genet, opened Thursday night in Warner Main Space, under the direction of College senior Eliana Meyerowitz. The show follows the stories of Solange and Claire, two sisters living in 1940s France who work as maids for a socialite called Madame. At first, the sisters find cathartic release by staging illicit fantasies of liberation and revenge while Madame is away. Soon, though, their innocent games take an alarming turn. The play demands some suspension of d...

The Post Sheds Light on Media, Government Tussles

Kirsten Heuring, Staff Writer

February 9, 2018

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

If I had to pick one word to describe The Post, which is directed by Steven Spielberg and stars Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, I would choose “relevant.” The movie revolves around the publishing of classified documents related to the hopelessness of the Vietnam War under the Nixon presidency and his administration’s attempts to stop these documents from being made public. Due to the depiction of paranoid, tyrannical leadership trying to silence news organizations, much of the movie resonates in today’s social and political climate and the struggle for freedom of speech. The movie begins as Daniel Ellsberg (played by Matthew Rhys), a government employee, witnesses the destruction and horror of the Vietnam war firsthan...

Emeka Directs Nuanced, Musically-Textured Production of “Bluest Eye”

Emeka Directs Nuanced, Musically-Textured Production of “Bluest Eye”

December 1, 2017

The Bluest Eye, Lydia Diamond’s stage adaptation of Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison’s 1970 novel about a young Black girl who prays for blue eyes, opened last night in Hall Auditorium. The production, directed by Associate Professor of Theater and Africana Studies Justin Emeka, OC ’95, is a richly textual and musical experience that tests the boundaries between prose and stage. One of the reasons that this play is especially resonant with Oberlin communities is that The Bluest Eye ...

“Heathers” Explores Dark Elements of High School

“Heathers” Explores Dark Elements of High School

December 1, 2017

Editor’s note: This articles contains spoilers for Heathers: The Musical, as well as mention of murder, suicide, homophobia, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence. Heathers: The Musical, the darkly funny teen musical awash with ’80s references and pithy one-liners, opened Nov. 17 in Wilder Main Space and ran throughout the weekend. Though ostensibly a comedy, the musical — based on the 1988 movie of the same name — deals with a array of serious themes including suicide and murder...

Blood, Lineage Play Significant Roles in Pixar’s Coco

Ananya Gupta, Arts & Culture Editor

December 1, 2017

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

Editor’s note: This review contains spoilers for Coco. Though the idea of blinking out of existence once forgotten by the living is terrifying, Pixar presents it with cute skeletons and masterful, vibrant animation in Coco, which was released Nov. 22. Co-directed by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina, Coco is the story of a Mexican family broken apart by a father who chose to follow his musical passion over his wife, Imelda, and daughter, Coco. Heartbroken and angry, Imelda develops a hatred for music that spreads throughout generations of the Rivera family, banning it from their home and lives for centuries to come. The protagonist of the film is Imelda’s great-great-grandson, 12-year-old Miguel, who harbors a se...

“Women of Will” Strikes Socio-Political Chord

“Women of Will” Strikes Socio-Political Chord

November 17, 2017

Editor’s note: This article contains mentions of sexual and physical abuse. Women of Will, an original one-act play written and directed by College senior Sam Marchiony, premiered as a staged reading in StudiOC last weekend. The play — produced by an all-female cast and crew and written entirely in iambic pentameter — featured six of William Shakespeare’s female characters: Rosalind from As You Like It (Marchiony), Lavinia from Titus Andronicus (community member Aliza Weidenbaum), Hero fr...

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