The Oberlin Review

Noah Hawley’s “Legion” Explores Mutant Minds

Christian Bolles, Columnist

March 3, 2017

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

In the second episode of Legion, Fargo creator Noah Hawley’s first attempt at a Marvel television series, the protagonist, David, tells his lover — whom he is forbidden to touch — that they are engaged in “a romance of the mind.” This is as much of a mission statement as the show’s mind-boggling, brilliant and often elusive script is willing to provide. Hawley’s fascination with the human mind is the entry point for the series, which tells David’s story and follows his path from disempowerment to untold amounts of power. David quickly learns that the symptoms of schizophrenia that placed him in a psychiatric institution, where the show’s pilot is set, might not be the caused by mental illness at all. H...

On The Record with Professor Justin Emeka

On The Record with Professor Justin Emeka

February 24, 2017

Associate Professor of Theater and Africana Studies Justin Emeka, OC ’95, discovered acting at a young age, but racially restrictive casting drove him more toward directing. He graduated with a master’s degree in directing from the University of Washington School of Drama in 2005 and has been extensively involved in staging works of classical theater productions with Black casts for many years. Emeka hosted an event called “Re-imagining Classical American Theater” at the Playhouse Square...

Russian Documentary Highlights Narrative of Resistance

Julia Peterson, Production editor

February 24, 2017

Filed under ARTS, Features, Theater & Film

The images from Pussy Riot’s protest performances are iconic — women in multicolored balaclavas climbing on top of subway trains and scaffolding or using iconic public places as an impromptu stage, waving flags and smoke flares, playing loud guitar riffs and singing about corruption in the Russian government. The Russian feminist punk group was founded in August of 2011, when group members Nadezhda (Nadya) Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina (Katya) Samutsevich gave a presentation on feminist art and decided that, since there weren’t enough Russian musical protest groups to talk about, they should create one. The documentary Pussy versus Putin, which was screened at the Apollo Theatre on Wednesday, was produced by the Russ...

Henson Delivers Memorable Performance in Hidden Figures

Christian Bolles, Columnist

February 17, 2017

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

An oft-ignored ingredient of successful filmmaking is the importance of managing expectations. It’s the coating on the cinematic pill, and it distinguishes movies that appeal to a wide audience over those that find a smaller niche. There are many successful films that subvert their premises, yet divide viewers in doing so; La La Land, which begins as a glitzy musical and transitions to a relationship drama halfway through, is one recent example that garnered critical praise but widespread criticism from general audiences. Somewhere on the other end of the spectrum rests writer/director Theodore Melfi’s Hidden Figures. Hidden Figures is a vehicle for a story and quite a good one: Three Black women working at NASA ...

Jenkins’ Accessible “Moonlight” Showcases Stellar Performances

Christian Bolles, Columnist

February 10, 2017

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

If you haven’t seen Moonlight on the grounds of its tough subject matter, you may not be alone, but you certainly should reconsider. Writer/director Barry Jenkins’ sophomore feature takes a Boyhood-esque trip straight to the heart of human pathos, spinning its tale of a man named Chiron through intimate close-ups that reflect the personal sting of his unfortunate circumstances. Moonlight has been — and will continue to be — hailed by the industry and viewers as “important” due to the sheer rarity of the subject in the medium of film: a gay Black man. But historically, “important” is a reductive and alienating label that pushes works of social significance into a dusty altar in the corner while safer, m...

Questions of Constitution, Morality Explored in Sagal’s Denial

Questions of Constitution, Morality Explored in Sagal’s Denial

February 3, 2017

Denial, by Peter Sagal, offers more questions than clarity in its portrayal of the necessity and limitations of the First Amendment. The play, which opened yesterday at Hall Auditorium, centers on the interactions between Jewish ACLU lawyer Abigail Gersten (College sophomore Marina Schwadron), and her new client, Holocaust-denying Professor Bernard Cooper (College sophomore Brian Weaver). Abigail is established in the first scene as a brilliant lawyer and an impassioned defender of the First Amen...

Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night Receives Queer Update

Ivan Aidun

February 3, 2017

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

The twang of a banjo was the first of many surprises in Monday night’s presentation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, directed by College senior Jenny Kneebone in the Little Theater. The play follows Viola (College sophomore Ronit Schorr), a shipwrecked girl who disguises herself as a boy named Cesario, and enters employ as a messenger for the local Duke Orsino (College first-year Quentin Nguyen-duy). As the Duke’s messenger, she delivers missives of his love to the Countess Olivia (College first-year Christine Impara), who ends up falling in love with Cesario. Though the play is more than 400 years old, this production felt remarkably fresh, something that something that Kneebone deliberately emphasized. “I wan...

Flaharty’s Spring Awakening Ethereal, Relevant

Brendan Eprile, Staff Writer

December 9, 2016

Filed under ARTS, Dance, Music, Theater & Film

The Oberlin College Theater Department presented a stunning and poignant rendition of Spring Awakening over the weekend. The musical is an exploration of the emotional turmoil of teenage sexuality, love and angst. Despite its late 19th-century setting, several of the themes it addresses — such as abortion, sexual and domestic violence, depression and suicide — remain highly relevant to today’s social and political discourse. While the societal climate surrounding many of these issues has shifted drastically over the last century, the narrative still speaks to the persistence of violence and repression today and serves as a reminder of just how far from solved these issues are. The story’s emotional impact was enhance...

Beder’s “Composed” Sheds Light on Stage Fright

Beder’s “Composed” Sheds Light on Stage Fright

December 2, 2016

Composed, a new documentary by John Beder, features interviews with professional musicians exploring their experiences with being affected by and coping with performance anxiety. The film had a screening at the Apollo Theatre on Wednesday night, followed by a panel discussion with Beder and Conservatory faculty members. Although musicians may be reluctant to discuss performance anxiety, the film emphasizes that it is a very common phenomenon. “With the documentary, I am hoping that people will understand...

Miranda’s Score Elevates Moana to Excellence

Miranda’s Score Elevates Moana to Excellence

December 2, 2016

Decades ago, Walt Disney Animation Studios perfected the art of fantasy. The studio has always endeavored to craft worlds that the viewer aches to live in; the timeless, dreamlike quality of its tales of princesses and castles has given them the power to endure. Looking back, though, it’s hard to reconcile the glimmering surface of Disney’s animated worlds with the fundamental whiteness and rigid patriarchy that comprise their conceptual frameworks. Even Frozen, for all that it eschews standard ...

Spring Awakening Interrogates Taboo

Spring Awakening Interrogates Taboo

December 2, 2016

Oberlin Musical Theater Association presents Spring Awakening, a rock musical adapted for Broadway in 2006 from Frank Wedekind’s 1906 play of the same name. Controversial at the time due to its unflattering portrayal of late 19th century Germany, the play presents a powerful critique of a societal structure that insulates its young people from reality for their supposed protection. The story follows a cast of teenagers grappling with misinformation and taboos surrounding puberty and sexuality as wel...

OMTA Looks from Stage to Stars in “Fly By Night”

OMTA Looks from Stage to Stars in “Fly By Night”

November 18, 2016

Oberlin Musical Theatre Association’s rendition of the 2014 Off- Broadway musical Fly By Night raises questions of cosmic significance and the vicissitudes of fate. The production will take place in Wilder Main Space this weekend. The play’s narrative centers on Harold, a New York City sandwich maker played by College sophomore David Kaus; Daphne, an actress who wants to be a Broadway star, played by College first-year Talia Roland- Kalb; and Miriam, Daphne’s sister, played by College sophomore Sa...

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