The Oberlin Review

This Is Our Youth: Little Theater Mounts Cynical Portrait of College Student Malaise

This Is Our Youth: Little Theater Mounts Cynical Portrait of College Student Malaise

March 11, 2011

Kenneth Lonergan’s This Is Our Youth is a serious play about three characters whose lives are serious jokes. The synopsis reads like a tale on the brink of tragedy: Set on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Youth tells the story of the privileged adolescent boy Warren (played by College senior Josh Silver), who goes into hiding after stealing $15,000 from his father. The reckless, feckless Warren proceeds to spend the money frivolously, a misstep that he remedies by selling the cocaine that is l...

Senior Studio Review: Singer and Kelly’s “Supernatural” Super Awesome

Senior Studio Review: Singer and Kelly’s “Supernatural” Super Awesome

March 11, 2011

Supernatural, the duo Senior Studio Show by Calder Singer and Mary Kate Kelly, unfolded like a delicate boxing match. Upon first impression, their work read like a battle between the ethereal versus physical, glamorous versus earthen, timeless versus fleeting. Could we even say hipster versus hippie? Although they were at odds in terms of naturalism and plasticity, the show moved beyond these dichotomies, working together and rocking out individually. In Fisher, Singer orchestrated a performa...

A Bit Too Much Schmutz on Jerusalem of Gold

Moze Halperin, Staff Writer

March 4, 2011

Filed under ARTS, Music, Theater & Film

A lot of people might shudder at the thought of publicizing the exploits of their time studying abroad, let alone publicizing them musically — not merely out of embarrassment, but out of humility. Few will ever write about the spiritual journey they underwent on pub crawls, or the identity crisis they endured every time they submitted to the ruthlessness of foreign plumbing. A short story, maybe. A limerick, certainly. But… a musical? A musical is bold. A musical is big. A musical is vulnerable. So kvetching about a musical should be easy. When turning any event into a musical, one is already taking a huge risk: A musical is a heightened and hyperactive representation of reality that more often than not sacrifices...

Theater Review: Pinter’s Hothouse Runs Hot and Cold

Robert Salazar

February 25, 2011

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

Performed in Little Theater and directed by Honors candidate and College senior Ben Ferber, Harold Pinter’s The Hothouse is set in a poorly run, British mental facility. Although the characters refer to the setting as a “rest home” and a “sanitarium,” the title of the play perfectly captures the production’s restrictive, claustrophobic atmosphere: The Hothouse tells the story of people who are imprisoned by their circumstances and are struggling to develop. The play opens on Christmas Day, as staff member Gibbs, played by College first-year Brian Gale, breaks unprecedented news to the institution’s loud-mouthed director, Roote (College junior Billy Ferrer). One patient has suddenly died and one has ...

On the Record: Guest Director Barney O’Hanlon

Jimmy Hagan, Arts Editor

February 18, 2011

Filed under ARTS, On the Record, Theater & Film

Can you elaborate on the production’s usage of the Viewpoints method (an acting technique developed by Anne Bogart, the founder of the renowned New York based acting institution, the SITI Company)? Did you see the training in the Viewpoints technique pay off onstage? The cast trained in both Suzuki and the Viewpoints method. Suzuki is an intensely rigorous practice to hone in on concentration, focus, body awareness and intense listening. Viewpoints is also about … listening, but is more about getting in touch with impulse and intuition. Both trainings help cultivate ensemble sensibility, awareness of the others and a very strong presence. I couldn't do any of the shows I do without them. They are part of my c...

O’Hanlon’s Eurydice Visually Stunning, Wholly Unforgettable

O’Hanlon’s Eurydice Visually Stunning, Wholly Unforgettable

February 18, 2011

When you see great theater, there’s usually a moment — a monologue, a scene, a particularly well-orchestrated costume change — that compels you to take a breath, sit up in your chair, and acknowledge that you are witness to something that can only be described as — to the chagrin of ninth-grade English teachers — “interesting.” Some people feel this way when they see Hamlet’s speech to Yorick, or the final scene in Death of a Salesman; Others feel this way when they see the Gree...

Additional Commentary: Eurydice

Liv Combe, Moze Halperin, and Jimmy Hagan

February 18, 2011

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

Jimmy Hagan, Arts Editor He saw the letters of his daughter’s name in the space in between the rain. Purified in the River Lethe of all memory, Eurydice’s father could see something in the water as it drizzled in the Underworld. While Barney O’Hanlon’s strong hand undoubtedly steered the show and an electrifying stage, costume and sound design gave us unforgettable moments, it was superior playwriting that ultimately elevated the show to that syrupy transcendent level we all enjoyed so much. Brief when it wanted to be and razor sharp when it had to be, Sarah Ruhl’s script laid the groundwork for an experience audiences dream of. Oberlin directors should take note: Letting the writer do the heavy lifting ...

Bait Offers Christian Reform School Sex Fantasies, Swims through Symbolism

Moze Halperin

February 11, 2011

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

The beautiful thing about student-written college theater is that audiences get the pleasure of seeing their friend's or acquaintance's or LARP partner’s personality combusted into performance. One has the sense that this person they know a lot or a little or a LARP is scattered in chunks around the stage: in the black-box set pieces, in the recognizable indie tunes and in the characters who bop to them. I imagine that it is an incredible and scary feat to write and direct a show at a place where one is known, where one is clearly making themselves — and not just his or her work — vulnerable. For this reason, watching Bait, in all its rawness, was quite a cool experience. Directorially speaking,Bait was quite strong, and...

Theater Preview: Eurydice

Theater Preview: Eurydice

February 11, 2011

The very old and very new are working together to bring something special to the Oberlin stage this weekend. The Theater and Dance department is staging Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice, a retelling of the story of Orpheus from the perspective of his wife, the titular character he attempts to rescue from the Underworld. Since its world premiere in Madison, Wisconsin in 2004, Ruhl’s Eurydice has been immensely well received, with The New York Times praising its 2007 off-Broadway production as “weird and...

“O Brave New World”: Taymor’s Tempest Dreamlike, Occasionally Terrifying

“O Brave New World”: Taymor’s Tempest Dreamlike, Occasionally Terrifying

February 11, 2011

William Shakespeare’s The Tempest is nothing if not surreal. Julie Taymor OC ’74 takes that to heart in her new film adaptation of the classic play. The movie is extraordinarily dreamlike, with countless special effects that vary from obvious green screen to frighteningly realistic animation. Today’s films habitually focus on hyper-realistic effects using the latest technology, making the transparent, almost two-dimensional appearance of the mischievous sprite Ariel (played by Ben Whishaw)...

Taking on Tyson Inspires, Charlie Sheen Still Crazy

Rachel Avcioglu, Staff Writer

January 26, 2011

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

When I first heard the synopsis of Mike Tyson's new TV show Taking On Tyson, I had to laugh. Mike Tyson, the old heavyweight champion of the world, having a show on Animal Planet about his love for pigeons? That couldn’t possibly be serious. But after the first five minutes of the pilot episode, I knew I was in love. Throughout his career, Mike has had issues with anger, drugs, alcohol and domestic violence, yet he has always sought refuge from his problems by taking care of pigeons in his native New York. After retiring from the ring, Tyson decided to train and raise homing pigeons, and he is now going up against some of the seasoned vets in a competition to see who can raise the fastest birds. A keen focus on...

Putnam County Musical Spells Out Laughter

Rebecca Caine, Production Manager

December 11, 2009

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

As the audience members arrived to fill the seats in Wilder Main on Saturday afternoon, I whispered to my friend who was sitting next to me, “I hope I can come up with enough to write. I don’t know if I really like musicals.” Luckily, I had nothing to worry about. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee kept me grinning throughout the production, and judging from the frequent laughter of the audience, I wasn’t the only one. The one-act show chronicled the events at the finals of Putnam County’s regional spelling bee, where six eccentric elementary and middle schoolers competed for a spot at nationals. Though the musical was confined to a single afternoon in the school gymnasium, the characters’...

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