The Oberlin Review

Despite High Entertainment Value, “Few Days of Trouble” and “Broken and Contrite Heart” Backslide Into Melodrama

EJ Dickson, Arts Editor

April 15, 2011

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

As any dramatic writing teacher will tell you, all great theater is centered around conflict, and while its greatness may be up for debate, College senior Heather Harvey’s Honors projects, A Few Days of Trouble and A Broken and Contrite Heart, is no exception. Harvey’s work deals with a wide range of emotional conflicts: between faith and secularity, community and the self, those who preach and those who are preached to, those who make a living behind a pulpit and those who make a living rubbing their junk against a pole. Yet in addition to these eternal dichotomies, Trouble and Heartalso address a decidedly less metaphysical issue: Can these conflicts be condensed into one two-and-a-half hour play? After ...

Focus Group Screenings Bring Experimental Film To A Living Room Near You

Lizzie Conner, Staff Writer

April 15, 2011

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

Every Wednesday night, “Focus Group” happens somewhere in Oberlin. It began with screenings in the basement of Mudd as part of Brett Kashmere’s cinema studies class, Exhibition Practices in the Media Arts, but after the first few weeks, Kashmere and his students agreed that the space felt tooinstitutional. So they relocated, but not to any fixed location. They’ve since held the Focus Group screenings at students’ houses and other makeshift venues across town, changing the environment, along with the theme and curator, each week. While Kashmere included a screening series the two previous times he taught the course, this is the first time it has consistently moved from week to week. From what he said abo...

Highlights From Cleveland International Film Festival: Midwestern Sundance Features Just As Much Talent, More Snow

Abby Hawkins and Lizzie Conner

April 6, 2011

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

From March 24-April 3, the 35th Cleveland International Film Festival screened a diverse array of 150 features and 130 short films from about 60 different countries, featuring the works of first-time directors and world-renowned filmmakers alike. Hundreds of filmmakers and other guests from around the world flocked to the Cleve for the annual festival, cementing Cleveland's reputation as a major cultural powerhouse. Although the Review unfortunately lacked the time and funds to send our writers to all 280 of the films on display, the following is a review of some of the festival's highlights. Illégal  Abby Hawkins Olivier Masset-Depasse's drama Illégal takes a gritty look at the life of Tania, a Russian immigrant who has been ...

Tear-Jerking Drama Two Rooms High In Pathos, Short On Substance

Moze Halperin, Staff Writer

April 6, 2011

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

During the performance that I saw of Two Rooms — directed by College third-year Sam Abrams — a nearby audience member was on sniveling autopilot throughout the entirety of the play. Every scene had her leaking sympathy with such constant gusto that it eventually became white noise. The unrelenting nature of her crying — and my eventual desensitization to her tears — helped underline my main problem with the play: the unrelenting nature of its attempts to get people to cry. Two Rooms, which takes place trans-continentally in two bare, white rooms, is a play in which the audience intentionally neither sees nor hears anything but performance. Paradoxically, this minimalism seems meant to detract from the performa...

Freedom Riders Documentary Paints Brutal, Inspiring Portrait of Civil Rights Activists

EJ Dickson

March 18, 2011

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

The documentary Freedom Riders begins and ends with a promotional clip for the Greyhound bus company. Shot in the 1960s, the clip — a chirpy musical number — features rows and rows of smiling faces singing the praises of riding with Greyhound as the camera pulls back to reveal the bus, winding its way down a dusty road into a dazzling sunset. To nostalgia buffs and Mad Men aficionados, at first glance the scene must seem like a snapshot from happier, more vividly hued times, an era in which interstate travel was considered glamorous and no experience was too mundane to be chronicled in a lavish musical number. Yet the scene elicited nervous giggles from audiences in West Lecture Hall during the film’s scre...

You and Me and Me and You Delicately Considers Identity Politics

Jimmy Hagan, Arts Editor

March 15, 2011

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

In the 1980s and ’90s, the art world supported art that addressed the issues of race, ethnicity and gender. The artists involved struggled to find success with work that wasn’t about identity politics. Rikrit Tiravanija, in a gallery opening, brilliantly satirized the largely white gallery world’s insatiable hunger for exotic flavor by actually cooking them Thai food. Tiravanija’s point was well taken. When people of color make work about identity, are they filling a niche market? Does being not white condemn the artist to eternal conversations of identity? Race, nationality and belonging played an important role in You and Me and Me and You, yet the senior studio duo show by Stephanie Lo and Sam Drais...

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...

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