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Clarkies Have a Play Date

Students Write, Direct, and Act Plays Within 24 Hours

Jake Ruta, Opinion's Editor

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It was an interesting scene in the Little Center’s experimental theater just before the series of performances concluding Clark’s 24-hour play-fest began. The room was scattered with seeming detritus–a cabinet displaced from its home on a wall somewhere, a skateboard with mismatched wheels–and the only curtains were a little shredded and certainly not going up, down or in any other direction. And yet, many of the seemingly mismatched items and the space’s off-balance ambience were incorporated into the night’s three short plays by a talented team of writer-directors and actors.

The plays presented at 7 p.m. last Sunday night had their start only 22 hours before. The three writers–Samson Martin (‘18), Emilio Del Carmen (‘20), and Alyssa Spencer (‘17)gathered in Jefferson 320 at 9 p.m. Saturday to work through the night and produce the show’s literary substance. By 8 a.m. the trio had reformed their ideas, inspiration, and a healthy dose of sleep deprivation into three comedies on the dangers (and benefits) of drug abuse, a disinterested guardian angel, and the decomposing corpse of a child.

Not to be outdone for mutability, nearly all the show’s seven actors appeared in all three shows. The first play, Martin’s “Unbreakable” finds characters played by Natalie Wolpert (‘18) and Hannah Brier (‘20) on a first visit to long-time neighbors. As the drug-fueled hijinks ensue, the neighbors’ true status as erratic vigilantes is revealed. Through the seemingly misunderstood power of PCP, the neighbors, played by Themal Ellawala (‘17), Ameila Mohr (‘17), and Lila Sorenson (‘20), are conferred the superhuman strength, endurance, pain tolerance, and a lack of awareness needed to terrorize their neighborhood and murder a DEA agent played by Lital Dotan (‘20). Together with PCP they become “Unbreakable! Like Bruce Willis in ‘Unbreakable’! or the Hulk! in…The Hulk!”. Chloe Anderson’s (‘17) direction brought life to Martin’s jokes and presented PCP addicts as the true heroes they are. (Use of PCP can bring horrific consequences to its user and anyone with whom they may come in contact. Its use should never be seriously advocated).

The night’s second play, Del Carmen’s “Your Guardian Angel,” follows Sorenson playing a young woman still mourning the cancellation of “iCarly,” and Brier as her new, emotionally immature guardian angel. After a few bizarre sequences concerning difficulties in dating and watching television, Harris Eidelman’s (‘19) mysterious sleeping character–still on stage after his similarly unconscious performance as the drug-free fourth roommate in Martin’s play–awakes, indicating that Sorenson’s character is  representative of his unconscious self. In a quick twist ending, Brier is proven be an inclination to self-sabotage rather than a guardian. The play concludes on Eidelman deciding against taking an internship, a decision nearly as self-destructive as living with PCP addicts for a number of years.

Eidelman demonstrated his range in portraying unconscious bodies in the show’s finale, Spencer’s “Nightshade.” He plays a child accidentally murdered by his own parents, with removal of his body as the play’s central conflict. The mother and father, played by Wolpert and Ellawala respectively, fail to dispose of their son with such increasing ineptitude that, eventually, they are forced to kill both their neighbors and themselves with fruit salad containing the poisonous nightshade berry. In one final twist, Eidelman awakes from another heavy nap to find the poisoned bodies of his parents and neighbors scattered around the living room.

Ending just before 8 p.m., the eleven evidently talented writers, directors, and actors–together with always important administrative and technical support–were able to fit everything together an hour ahead of schedule. Thanks to everyone involved for a fun night of theater and your impressive creative resourcefulness.

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Clarkies Have a Play Date