Arriving at Faber Dining Commons, actors and stage crew alike were prepping for their scenes. With props made from a “street” lamp to a couch, the quick set-ups for each scene impressed me. Director’s Cut, an anthology of plays directed by students, was already looking prepared for the night as people were seated. Before the show started, the audience was advised for exits if the theatre was to start flooding. Pepsico Theatre, the usual student theatre, had been flooded and damaged, so this was a nice heads up about such a possibility, even if it wasn’t raining. I didn’t want to think too much into how some buildings were leaking similarly, so I brushed it off. As the lights began to dim, my mind focused on the amount of performance and effort put into these plays.
Film Noir by Bathesheba Doran
Directed by Elliot Harrell ‘20
Starring Abigail Sakati ‘20 and Jay Martins ‘21
“You never know what you’ll find at Frankie’s”
Starting as if it were an actual noir play, a sudden jump in tone actually took me off guard. Acting as a deconstruction of the noir tropes, two classic character archetypes explore the reality of such films, portraying the genre as rather harmful. Detailing the tropes in a different light, we get to see the misogynistic side, with the men practically forcing themselves to be tough as women are always the appeal to male viewers. With the “sexy” female character and the “hard boiled” man, it truly reflects the inclusion of such aspects back in the 1940’s. Deconstructions always hold a place in my heart, because some way or another, fiction ends up meeting the reality of it all. Presenting itself as serious instead comedic like the other plays, it stuck out to me as an interesting part of the overall show.
Coffee Break by Jerry Thompson
Directed by Emily Ramsey ‘20
Starring Carlin Fournier ’22 as Al and Martha Hegley ‘20 as Anna
“The world’s changing, so you better get used to it.”
Having seen similar heated arguments play out, this play felt honest to me. Exploring the idea of the past vs. the present, the play focuses on old house-painter Al and hard-working mother Anna, who’s had just enough of him. Both characters present their own stances on Al’s outbursts over the idea of “women doing a man’s job.” The heated tone of the arguments truly matched the intensity of the situation, and it’s ending was just as fitting.
Dumbo (Down Under The Manhattan Bridge Overpass) by Wanda Strukus
Directed by Tim Healey ‘20
Starring Kiersten Bjork ‘21 as Jo and Grace Kavulich ‘21 as Edie
“You’re a good friend, Jo.”
In what I can call true friendship, two girls stay together until the bitter end. Or at least, one. When hitwoman Jo ends up having to kill her friend Edie, it escalates into a barrage of demands. After all, one has to have some dignity at death. The casual attitude both actors display while talking about Edie’s death wishes impressed me. The relationship between both characters showed the competence of the actors as they were capable of keeping a straight face throughout the entire act.
Let Me Count The Ways by Jay D. Hanagan
Directed by Fallon Sullivan ‘20
Starring Tom Cole ‘21 and Maeve Hegley ‘20
“I love you. Kiss me! Wait!”
Romantic media doesn’t really appeal to my tastes, but “Let Me Count The Ways” acts as a more sitcom-ish play. Unlike the overly sentimental or downright boring plots, this play supports itself in its own unique way. Playing on the tropes of true love, two lovey-dovey teenagers explore the definition of love. The “Wait!” joke, although clever, began to wear down in its expected moments. But the play managed to escalate in a fun manner that kept me entertained, giving off Disney Channel vibes.
Grunions by Barbara Lindsay
Directed by Shannon Kelley ‘19
Starring Maddie Craig ‘19 as Carla and Declan Quigley ‘21 as Augie
“I think we’re in the right spot, after all.”
I’m not a big fan of romance, as said before, but “Grunions” manages to make itself rather interesting to my tastes. Exploring the “rock bottom” situation, where nothing is going right at all, the audience was able to experience such a moment through the eyes of Carla and Augie, discord included. From feeling failure to arguing about purpose, both characters convey their own viewpoints on their marriage as of then. But rather than the overly dramatized moments like films such as “P.S. I Love You”, we ultimately get something a little more down to Earth throughout the play. Grunions portrays itself as not too outlandish, nor too realistic, but it manages a heartwarming performance about hitting the worst moments in relationships.
Short Term Affairs by Donna Spector
Directed by Romina Rabines ‘19
Starring Park Lytle ‘20 as Mark Fanberg and Kierstin Jones ‘21 as Denise Delaney
“I help people find the wrong person for them.”
In what I call the most hilarious play of the six, “Short Term Affairs” explores the idea of finding unexpected love in odd situations. In this setting, immature Mark Fanberg decides to get involved in an affair, but is found having an awkward interview with the stricter Denise Delaney. The conversations between the two reflect the absurdity of the situation itself. Upon watching the first scene, I was half expecting it to be a parody of a adult 90’s film, but the actual premise proved itself to be worthy of laughs.
After the plays finally wrapped, the cast gave their bows before the audience. As I left Faber, I thought to myself on the effectiveness of each actors’ performances. If Director’s Cut was hosted in Pepsico Theatre, would it have been better or worse? I ignored this question as I focused on one thing: that the community of Fairfield University is capable of getting such plays across to audiences.