Sock&Buskin Presents: The Road Weeps, The Well Runs Dry

Although The Road Weeps, The Well Runs Dry is nearly three hours long, this play is jam-packed with action. And it’s completely wild. Like, grab onto the side of your seat, bring a friend to clutch sort of deal. It has Brown written all over it; from the  family dynamics to the shifting gender roles to the unconventional narrative style. Unsurprisingly, it is the brainchild of a Brown Professor, Marcus Gardley. Director Kym Moore explains how Gardley “created a myth culled from our collective past as balm for the soul.”

Here are ten of my takeaways from The Road Weeps, The Well Runs Dry:

1. The set is one-of-a-kind. Before the show began, the audience was invited to walk on the stage and have a look around. There were rocks scattered on the ground, headless torsos, and a massive hole in the ground. Perplexed, we settled into our seats. Soon, an overhead voice alerted us that “the museum is now closing.” Were we pretending this was a museum because Native peoples are always so on display? Or was it just because the stage was so interesting? Already, the play was thought provoking, forcing us to ask questions that couldn’t be answered. Philosophy friends, where you at?

2.The lighting technicians killed it. The creamy watercolor effect immediately established the mood. And as the plot moved forward, the set became drenched in red. The shadows were threatening and distorted our sense of place and time. Going for unsettled? Success.

3. Every sentence in this script drips with metaphor; I found myself scrambling to commit certain lines to memory. Many of the phrases are violent. When the characters argue, they spit out words like bullets, attacking one another mercilessly. But when young Sweet Tea, played by Julia Newitt ‘19, tries to explain her love, we are fully convinced that her feelings are pure.

4. This play is full of badass ladiesThe witch Half George, played by Oyindamola Akingbile ‘17, was particularly striking. Captivated by her strong melodic voice, we are in her clutches the entire show. She reckons that her heart is “hard and rotten” and she’s not wrong. The argument scene between her and Mary South (played to perfection by Crystal Kim ‘16)  is especially terrifying.

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Musical Forum presents Violet

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If you take anything away from Musical Forum’s Violet, which opens tomorrow and runs through Monday, it should be that musicals do not have to be larger-than-life to grab the attention of audiences. Indeed, it’s Violet’s modest character that truly makes the show unique among its counterparts. Taking us into the world of twenty-two-year-old Violet, director Skylar Fox ’15 tells the story of a girl cursed with a facial scar caused by a childhood ax accident. The musical, made famous by actress Sutton Foster’s portrayal of Violet and based of the short story “The Ugliest Pilgrim,” explores themes of identity, beauty, and inner peace.

The two-act journey takes us from North Carolina to Oklahoma circa 1964 as we follow Violet, played by the delightful Ellen Zanheiser’14, as she seeks out a charismatic televangelist whom she hopes will heal her scar. To the surprise of no one but the regrettably naive heroine, the televangelist doesn’t heal the scar, leaving both Violet and the audience wondering what she will do next. Evan Silver’16, a stand-out who portrays both the passionate televangelist and the not-as-enthusiastic bus driver, so expertly slips into the skin of the dramatic, sensationalist preacher that we find ourselves sympathizing with Violet’s belief in his abilities. The infectious, gospel-inspired “Raise Me Up,” sung by the angelic voice of Becca Millstein ’16, has the audience clapping and stomping right along with its robe-wearing chorus. Along the way, we receive glimpses into Violet’s childhood. Explaining everything from Violet’s scar to her Christian devotion, childhood Violet (Sarah Black ’16) and her father (Jesse Weil ’16) help us to better understand the origins of Violet’s insecurities.

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Must-See: Les Misérables in Concert

I walked into the Granoff Martinos Auditorium amid a clamor of tuning instruments and buzz of conversation over blocking and cues. The orchestra prepared in their cluster at stage right and two students were at the center mic executing and then tweaking a dramatic moment between their characters Eponine and Marius. Marius (Jesse Weil ’16) embraced Eponine (Emily Kassie ’14) from behind but then Emily halted. She moved Jesse’s hand above or below its original placement. They embraced again. Everyone else, all dressed in black and some white, was scattered about the stage anticipating a full design rehearsal before the real performance begins TONIGHT and runs through Thursday. 

Emily Kassie as Eponine and Jesse Weil as Marius

What may seem like a needless intricacy — a hand two inches above the waist and one inch over — is central to “Les Misérables: In Text and Production,” a Group Independent Study Project (GISP) focused on the text and performance of the renowned drama. Les Misérables in Concert is essentially the presentation of the students’ various “findings” from their research.

The singers are diverse, but all so talented, and their performances fuse beautifully with the orchestral music directed by Alex Sogo ’15. The musicians seem to watch the performers and listen to them, as opposed to having the students keep in time with their playing. The students also animate a minimalist set of microphones, chairs, and wires running across the hardwood lecture floor turned stage. With barely any props, and with a couple newsboy caps and a long coat on inspector Javert (Michael Gale ’14/Harrison Chad ’14) as costumes, the students’ emotive expressions and chemistry with one another transform the bare space, all due in large part to Marissa Bergman’s ’14 direction.

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“Ride, Sally, Ride:” Scandal is BACK!

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Cue the camera flashes: Scandal is BACK. And in traditional Scandal fashion, we begin in the middle of things at the press conference that defines the episode, “Ride, Sally, Ride.” There are several subplots to cover and Sally is up first. Somehow in this show, and now more than ever, all roads lead to Langston.

Note: Spoilers below!

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