Columbia Entertainment Company presents Marion Bridge

No one in the world is perfect, but many people try to act like it. “Marion Bridge” under the direction of Daniel Maclvor was a play that mirrored this fact. A play of many emotions, is what I like to call this drama.

The play comes to us in the early 2000s in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Three daughters of an elderly woman (Agnes, Theresa, and Louis have completely reunited after years of living separate lives. With past experiences still lingering in the minds of some, things are taking some time to go back to normal. However, the strength of the relationship is tested when both current and past family issues arise. The sisters, have to either settle their differences and make things right or time will break them apart for good.

The acting was nothing short of amazing. Dana Brocke (Agnes), the oldest of the three sisters was surely a great actor. Brocke used her tone and gestures to really pull in the audience. The tone in her voice let you know when she angry happy or sad. The quick movements back and forth of anticipation or the stomping of anger made you want reach out and help her, but you were just an audience member so you had to sit quietly.

Another actor was Sarah Jost (Louise),the youngest of the sisters and the most quiet. Jost really got into character to play that of Louise. Louise who was very socially challenged, not the most outgoing, was a character who wasn’t the easiest but she played the role well. You could feel how awkward every conversation was every time she opened her mouth. Jost did a great job.

Although the acting the acting was great the scenic design wasn’t necessarily the best. The majority of the play takes place in a kitchen, which is fine. Most families have conversations in the kitchen, which is fine. Nonetheless, scenes that were outside of the kitchen looked as if they were still in the kitchen according to the design of the stage. The transitions from one scene to another wouldn’t necessarily change. A chair might be pushed up to the table. The table might be moved back, but every thing would still be. I never saw anything that looked like a bridge or resembled a change of scenery. Good thing the acting took up for the bad staging. Other than the design the play was a drama with a happy ending and was a given a standing novation.

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“Musical Revue”

The MU Musical Revue was nothing short of impeccable under the direction of Chris Oliver. Unlike most musicals this was far from the usual. The difference was the fact that this Musical had no plot.

Now I know what you’re thinking. What type of musical or play or any form of theatre is this without a plot right? Well I’m here to tell you, if you didn’t go to the Musical Revue, you missed out.

The reason the Musical didn’t have a plot, was because it was made up of songs only. Not songs of the same mean, but many songs from different musicals with different plots and scenarios. From the time the musical starts until it ends, you are drawn in by each song, from some of the most nationally recognized musicals such as “Sweeney Todd” and “Chicago.” The songs tapped into all of the emotions of people, some made you laugh and I even saw an audience member sob a little.

Although the Musical had some great singing, and some great pieces that were performed, you can not forget that music is not music with out sound. Robin Anderson who played piano along with Derrick Enyard who played percussion played a vital role in the final product of the play. The way they both controlled the flow of the performances and was great. There couldn’t have been a better two to make the sounds of the pieces. The Musical was amazing form start to finish.

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“Everything You Touch” by Warehouse Theatre

Sheila Callaghan’s “Everything You Touch” couldn’t have been performed any better than that by the Warehouse Theatre Company. From beginning to end I was intrigued and wanting to see more and even got angry at the thought of an intermission.

The play begins in 1974 with famous clothing line owner Victor Cavarnaugh (Dalton Mobley) and one of his models, whom he treats like a rat. You won’t see her too much of her throughout the play. Victor is going through a mid-life crisis as his clothing line is suddenly declining and he needs to do something to pick it back up. Victor’s assistant/lover or “muse” as they liked to call her, Esme, is the back bone of his industry, his motivator, his biggest fan, but like his models, he treats her poorly as well.

In contrast to the time period we fast forward to a more modern time. Surely it is in the 21st century as the characters are eating at chipotle. In this time period Jess (Abilene Olson) is a computer software specialist and is going through what most may think is a horrific time in a person’s life. Her mother is dying. The problem lies in the fact, she has no sympathy and she doesn’t want to see her. Haven’t seen her in over a decade, her mother doesn’t even know what she looks like and she hasn’t heard from her. It’s not until she meets a man that will change her life forever and influence her to at least travel to see her mother in her dying bed.

“Everything You Touch” may have been written by Sheila Callaghan, but with Director, Linda Kennedy, it couldn’t have been a better show. However, with the way this play is written one person who plays a vital role was Sierra Hughes, the costume designer. The reason why is because with the constant time switch between the 70’s and the modern day, things have to go back in time and come back. One of the biggest differences in time change is the style. From open dress shirts and bell-bottoms to fitted jeans and polo, the costumes were surely on point. The time in which the actors had to dress was not normally lengthy sometimes something as simple as changing a jacket could get the job done.

The acting in the play was impeccable, however one that stood out to me was that of Dalton Mobley. As stated earlier Mobley played the character of Victor, and I’ll tell you he was an extraordinary actor. Mobley makes you feel the passion and love for fashion that Victor has for clothing. From the tone of his voice, to the way he walked, to the level of sarcasm, you felt as if you knew him. Playing a character that could be rather rude at times, it can be hard to actually stand out sometimes, however Mobley was clearly a star in the show. As a regular viewer of plays in Columbia, I would like to think that this was probably one of the best plays I’ve seen.

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“CAESAR” @ Mizzou

COLUMBIA- The Shakespearian play, “Julius Caesar,” presented by The Acting Company comes with a bit of twist under the direction of Devin Brain. The Greek play surely takes you back in time with the language and grammar used through the performance, but then things changed up.

The play’s costume designers, Jennifer Moeller and Christopher Metzger, were the main cause of the twist. Though the dialogue of the play took us back in time, the costume design brought us back to a modern era. In the early acts of the play, the lines of clothes are curvy and garments are loose fitting which gives the old look. Nonetheless, there comes a time in the play when war is about to commence that the costumes take a twist into the modern world.

During war, the costumes become tighter fit and have the modern army uniforms of today’s soldiers. Instead of sporting sandals and cloaks and fabrics of that nature, they wore modern army boots, t-shirts, bulletproof vests and sunglasses. The plot twist in costumes was different and a bit shocking, but it really modernized the entire world of the play.

With so much Greek dialogue through the entire play it required some amazing acting. One actor in particular who had an extraordinary performance was character Caius Cassius (William Sturdivant). Though the play is named after Julius Caesar, the main character, the plot, climax , and the conclusion of the play had to do with Sturdivant. With more lines than all of the other actors not a single flaw in his performance. Whether friend or foe, Sturdivant makes the audience understand the thoughts of his character Cassius. He may not be the crowd favorite as far as characters are concerned, but he is surely one of the better performers on the stage.

Presented in a half thrust stage and half proscenium stage setting the act surely engages it’s audience more than the normal act. As one of the audience participant who were seating on stage in the thrust stage setting, I had a different experience than those off stage in the proscenium stage. Those in the proscenium setting did not experience fourth wall communication like those in the thrust stage. The acts uses the people on stage as props and even interacts with them and makes them feel like they are witnessing the play from an actor’s perspective rather than an audience participant.

The tragic play was presented in a small area with a symmetrical setup. Scenes are changed by simply changing one or two items. Not sure if they were short staff, but actors would change their garments to become different characters, but nonetheless it was still great acting performed. I would definitely advise going to see this play if Greek plays with a bit of drama and action is your type of thing.

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“Memory Café”

“Memory Café”

 

Taking a trip down memory lane does not always have a predetermined outcome of how the person taking the trip will react. Bringing up old memories can make you laugh, smile, and even sometimes cry. Although, in context we use the term memory lane, the lane is only but in our heads that we travel down reminiscing the “good ole days,” because memories can come up at any time or any place.

In this 21st century drama, the play takes place in a local café of course called Memory Café. Being near a university, lots of students and even faculty come to the café. Like most cafés, it is an area for socializing, having meetings, and even meeting new people.

The play starts with two central characters, Jack (Curt Wohleber) and Annie (Simonita Simkins) who are minding their business when they meet a lovely waitress named Danielle (Hannah Atencio). Other groups of two enter the scene as the play goes. As the couples have their own personal conversations, they eventually become not so personal as they become. Eavesdropping is fairly common amongst those in the café, and after listening for so long, people can’t help but to give their two scents (opinion).

Michael Kelley who is the playwright of “Memory Café,” really keeps you on your toes. From the beginning of the play with a short anecdote of each characters background you feel that this diverse group of characters will be an interesting mix. The phrase of, “never judge a book by it’s cover,” was fairly evident in this play. Kelley leads his audience into thinking that play is heading in one direction, but later hands his a viewers a plot twist that will have them completely shook. Kelley makes his audience seem like a fly on the wall of Memory Café and just soaking everything up. You learn something about every character’s past and how it has molded them into the person they currently are.

Simkins who plays Annie brings her character to life. A rather older woman, comes off a bit sarcastic in the beginning of the play. Her responses to Jack and her facial expressions really gave off the vibe that she was not necessarily interested other conversations. As the play continues she becomes more open, she gives advice, she pulls the view closer as if you were her friend. She is great at showing her emotions rather it be happy, sad, sarcastic or passionate. Simkins’ character acts as if she has all the pieces together but she really doesn’t and Simkins helps the viewers to see this as the show goes on.

As someone who has never seen a stage reading play I was stunned at how great the performance was. All of the actors did a fantastic job. I thought there would be more reading and less acting but I was wrong. I felt the emotions of the actors. There were points at which the audience would laugh and there were times that made some fight back the tears. I definitely recommend people to go see Memory Café.

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Can You Breathe?

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Have you ever watched a wrestling match or an MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) Fight before? If so have you ever seen someone get pul in a chokehold? The person getting shocked would usually tap out and the match would be over correct? Well in Eric Garner’s situation, that was not the case. After being forced to the ground by four NYPD officers, Garner said that he could not breathe however they refused to listen and ended up killing him.
Like Mike Brown’s case, the office who killed Eric Garner was not indicted and did not serve any jail time. He currently still has a job and it’s still getting paid. There were violent protests but not like Mike Brown’s Decision.

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People have been joining in with the slogans of the protests such as “hands up, don’t shoot” and “I Can’t Breathe.” Hopefully the protests will eventually lead to something however as of now we may as well go on with our daily lives.

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What Do We Do Now!

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Children Crying, Cars Burning, People Screaming, People Bleeding! After the Darren Wilson decision, Missouri was under attack. There was chaos every where, fighting, gun shots, tear gas you name it, it happened.
In some cities such a Chicago, New York, and LA, there were non-violent protests. Protests that showed that people could make a difference without violence. Yes We are infuriated as black people, however, violence is not the Key. Blowing up gas stations and breaking into homes will not solve anything in our defense. We need to take a stand against the government however it does not have to be a violent one.

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