The Oberlin Review

Season Two of Snicket Just as Grimly Humorous

Lucy Martin This Week Editor and Victoria Albacete Production Manager

April 20, 2018

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

Editor’s Note: This article contains spoilers for season two of the Netflix series A Series of Unfortunate Events. It has been 14 months since we left the Baudelaire orphans anxiously clustered on a bench outside the principal’s office at Prufrock Preparatory School at the end of season one of A Series of Unfortunate Events. The second season, which premiered March 30 on Netflix, opens with the three Baudelaires sitting on the same bench, equally as nervous as before — but Sunny is inexplicably at least a year older. They’re promptly installed in the latest of their temporary homes and, because it is a boarding school and presumably a safer space, we begin this season’s journey with slightly more hope than we ended...

Tony-Winning AIDS Epidemic Epic Remains Relevant

Tony-Winning AIDS Epidemic Epic Remains Relevant

April 13, 2018

Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony-winning two-part play celebrates its 25th anniversary, and the first part of Oberlin’s production opened last night in Hall Auditorium. The play focuses on the interconnected stories of a number of queer characters and their loved ones living in 1980s New York, and its themes are thrown in sharp relief by the current political climate. Angels in America offers a stark, intense, and moving exploration of h...

“Sign: A Silent Film” Speaks to Experiences of Deaf Community

Kate Fishman, Staff Writer

April 13, 2018

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

Editor’s note: This article contains mentions of intimate partner violence. A love story without spoken dialogue, Adam Wachter’s Sign: A Silent Film follows two men named Aaron and Ben as they navigate their relationship through fights and celebrations. The film has a particular focus on their communication, since Aaron is deaf and Ben is hearing. The film is punctuated by several jarring scenes — for example, Ben sitting in a chair at a party with Aaron’s friends before he knows how to sign, watching them communicate while holding a bowl of popcorn in his lap; another, a fight during which Ben violently grabs Aaron’s hands in the middle of speech, effectively silencing him. Ultimately, the film itself se...

Vikander Falls Short as Lara Croft in “Tomb Raider”

Ananya Gupta, Arts & Culture Editor

April 6, 2018

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers for the Tomb Raider series. After playing Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary and watching Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, it’s safe to say that I’m a superfan of the gun-toting, knife-wielding, acrobatic badass Lara Croft. Tomb Raider, starring Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft and directed by Roar Uthaug, unfortunately reduced this iconic, legendary woman into a one-dimensional character, with a storyline several notches below even the amateur Adobe Flash games one can excavate online today. While several versions of Lara Croft’s backstory exist, all franchises tell the story of an English woman who is trained to be an archaeolog...

“Chamber Play” Delivers Performance on Cyclical Abuse

“Chamber Play” Delivers Performance on Cyclical Abuse

March 30, 2018

Editor’s Note: This article contains mention of sexual abuse and trauma. Chamber Play, written by Amanda Faye Martin, is the dark, cryptic story of several characters, particularly Amanda (played by College first-year Sofie Rejto) and Sabina (played by College first-year Anna Aubry), and their experiences with cycles of abuse. The play examines amnesia as a result of sexual trauma, implying certain side effects of post-traumatic stress and illustrating the almost involuntary nature by which a vict...

“The Turn Of The Screw” Exemplifies Operatic Horror

“The Turn Of The Screw” Exemplifies Operatic Horror

March 9, 2018

Editor’s note: This article contains discussion of child sexual abuse. “Beware of things that go bump in the night.” According to Associate Professor of Opera Theater and Director Jonathon Field, this is the sentiment that audiences are likely to take away from Oberlin’s production of The Turn of the Screw. The chamber opera, Benjamin Britten and Myfanwy Piper’s chillingly creepy interpretation of the Henry James novella by the same name, opened Wednesday night in Hall Auditorium. T...

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 ...

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