The Oberlin Review

Peele’s Triumphant Debut Get Out Interrogates Liberal Racism

Christian Bolles, Columnist

March 31, 2017

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

Directorial debuts are often fragile. The vast majority of them display a promising but flawed proof of behind-the-camera skill, so for any new director, finding success in their first effort is difficult. When it comes to non-white directors, however, Hollywood’s prevailing whiteness and racism elevates that difficulty to nearly complete impenetrability. After years of building up his reputation via the famed sketch comedy show Key & Peele and contributing to the script for last year’s warmly received comedy Keanu, Jordan Peele finally took the chance to flex his directorial muscles, breaking into the Hollywood mainstream with the explosive, laser-focused Get Out. The film blows past the stigma that often...

‘Cendrillon’ Opera Charms with Quips, Fantasy

‘Cendrillon’ Opera Charms with Quips, Fantasy

March 10, 2017

Editor’s note: This article contains spoilers. With its production of Cendrillon, Oberlin Opera Theater invites audiences to join them in a world of fantasy, romance and stories that live beyond their pages. In this interpretation of the classic fairytale Cinderella, a score by Jules Massenet and a French libretto by Henri Caïn weave a rich atmosphere of non-reality from the moment that the first note is played. The opera is accompanied by English superscript projected above the stage, which — asi...

AAArt Collective Kicks Off Third Biennial Event Series

Victoria Garber, Arts editor

March 10, 2017

Filed under ARTS, Literature & Poetry, Music, Theater & Film

The third Asia America Art Collective will commence this evening with a 7:30 p.m. screening of Kenneth Eng’s My Life in China in the Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies’ Hallock Auditorium, followed by a late night ’Sco performance by Yaeji, v1984 and College senior Rachel Katz, who makes music under the name Xuan Rong. The collective is a biennial event series geared toward highlighting artists who identify as Asian or part of the Asian and Pacific Islander Diaspora. This year’s events will include a mix of workshops, screenings, mixed-media, audiovisual installation and spoken word and musical performances. In addition to calling attention to the work of Asian and Asian-American artistic comm...

Logan Succeeds with Faithful Adaptation of Wolverine Comics

Evan Johnson

March 10, 2017

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

In an early scene of James Mangold’s new X-Men feature Logan, Hugh Jackman, as James “Logan” Howlett, the superhero formerly known as Wolverine, discovers a comic book with himself on the cover. It’s not Wolverine as we’re seeing him now, weaker and having aged as the adamantium in his bones slowly poisons him, but his former self, young and drawn with a pulpy gloss that highlights his muscular torso. He’s trying to convince Gabriela (Elizabeth Rodriguez) — a nurse from a failed project created by a corporation called Transigen that bred children as mutants — that he cannot take care of the 11-year-old girl in her custody, Laura, also known as X-23 (Dafne Keen). After rummaging through the mess of Gabriela...

On the Record With Hector Aristizábal, Actor

On the Record With Hector Aristizábal, Actor

March 3, 2017

Hector Aristizábal is the founder and artistic co-director of ImaginAction, a non-profit theater arts organization based in Los Angeles. ImaginAction uses techniques from Theatre of the Oppressed, Playback Theatre, Theatre of Witness, Psychodrama, traditional storytelling, mask-making, drumming, dance and creative ritual to facilitate dialogue, community-building, liberation and healing in communities worldwide. Educated as a theater artist and psychologist, Aristizábal has won numerous awards ...

Melancholy Play Provides Funny, Lyrical Discussion of Sadness

Melancholy Play Provides Funny, Lyrical Discussion of Sadness

March 3, 2017

The five actors in Sarah Ruhl’s Melancholy Play are all preoccupied with lost arts like a talent for melancholy and the carrying of handkerchiefs. Directed by College senior Zoë DePreta, Melancholy Play follows Tilly (College sophomore Paige Baskin), a bank teller who suffers from a depression that attracts everyone around her. This theme is one that DePreta found relevant to Oberlin’s culture. “I think it’s good to do on a college campus because it talks about the way that people fetishize ...

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...

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