The Columbia theatre community sure has a knack for originality. It is to be admired that at least half of the shows one hears about are student written. Adding to the Columbia canon, Cassandra Adair takes audiences on a multi-faceted journey of loneliness and humor in the premiere of her play, “The Lonely Play (A Not-So-Lonely Play). The production was put on by NOMADS, and Bwog’s resident theatre fanatic Harry Dahl gives us the scoop.
I ventured out last night to attend “The Lonely Play (A Not-So-Lonely Play)”, presented by NOMADS (New and Original Material Authored and Directed by Students). With a witty script and wonderful team, “Lonely Play” and NOMADS continue to showcase the vast talent within our community and the fantastic work that can be created as a result.
As the name implies, “Lonely Play” leads the audience through the lives and thoughts of six people suffering from extreme loneliness. The play consists mostly of monologues discussing the different characters’ feelings on issues like paintings, mail, and how each of them deals with being lonely. In addition, a few scenes involving multiple characters connect the play with a loose narrative. The plot of the play itself is not particularly profound, and in some ways very unrealistic, but works very well at bringing the six characters together and showcasing the impact that they have on each others’ lives.
As an original work, one must pay particular attention to how well written the script is. In particular, the various speeches throughout the play manage to discuss subject matter directly with the audience while still being realistic, and writer Cassandra Adair (BC ’12) deserves praise for being able to write on so many subjects in so many different voices. The script is quite quirky, and Adair’s writing is filled with humorous takes on life juxtaposed with profoundness, showcasing both her knack for comedic timing and her insight into the way we feel.
Further praise is given to director Christina McCarver (BC ’13) and the entire cast for giving solid performances throughout the play. Their work really shows how they not only bring Adair’s vibrant script to life, but also add intricacies and subtleties to every moment of the play, fixating the viewer even when nothing is being said on stage. Multiple scenes contain no dialogue (such as when two characters pass each other on the street or when one character stares at a strange letter on her desk), but still manage to convey emotion in a way that words cannot. In particular, Alexandra Clayton (GS ’12) manages to fill every action with a weight that fully emotes her character’s feelings of loneliness and the accompanying neurosis. Overall, the actors gave quality performances that allowed the audience to relate to the feelings of loneliness the characters were experiencing. A special mention goes out to Amy Stringer (BC ’13), whose energetic and hilarious portrayal of a kleptomaniac cleaning lady set a great energy for the beginning of the play and continued to be one of the best-received parts in the show.
“Lonely Play” may not have had a very deep plot, but its writing and characters are strong. It manages to describe emotion onstage in a beautiful way that few student-written shows on campus do. In the end, you will laugh, maybe cry, and definitely leave with a warm feeling in your heart.
“The Lonely Play (A Not-So-Lonely Play)” has one more performance this Saturday at 8PM in the Lerner Black Box. Tickets are $5 with CUID, $7 without. Come see it while you still can!