High above Ferris and Roone in Lerner is a small black box theater on Lerner’s fifth floor. I probably have passed it hundreds of times, but this weekend I finally entered, poised to see the Columbia University Players in their production.
The production, An Evening of One Acts, consisted of three one-act plays ranging from drama to satire. Each act, Post-Its (Notes on a Marriage), Medea, and This is a Play, managed to pack tons of entertainment into about twenty minutes each.
The first play, Post-Its (Notes on a Marriage) was a funny and poignant story of a lifelong relationship between a married couple. Director Elizabeth Markman (BC ‘16) helped tell a very-ordinary story of a man and a woman from their youth until death through the use of post-its. The actors had almost no interaction with one another apart from the yellow sticky-notes they read to the audience, but Mariana Benjamin (BC ‘16) and Randolph Carr (CC ‘13) were able create a convincing life relationship nonetheless.
Medea, a satirical spin on the Lit-Hum favorite, featured an impossibly energetic Pearl Mutnick (BC ‘16). Throughout the play, the actors and incredibly synchronized Chorus, Alexandra Ley (BC ‘13), Danielle Niemann (CC ‘16), and Dakota Ross-Cabrera (CC ‘16) kept the entire audience laughing.
This is a Play, directed by Eric Wimer (CC ‘16), poked some hilarious jokes at theater itself. The actors convincingly put drew the audience into a ridiculous plot involving actors (Jesse Chasan-Taber, CC ‘16, Chris Erlendson, SEAS ‘14, and Danielle Niemann), a composer (Michelle McPhillips, BC ’15), and three heads of lettuce. Needless to say, I’ve never laughed so hard about a few heads of lettuce.
The plays themselves were simple; there were few props and even less to complicate the talents of the actors and directors. None of the plays pretended to be large productions, despite the top-notch aptitude of the performers. As cliche as it may sound, I laughed, I cried, and was totally won over by the Columbia University Players.
Not Columbia’s Theater via Shutterstock