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ISSUE 118 VOL 14 PUBLISHED 3/18/2005

'Quake' shakes up theater

By Lauren Hoffman
Contributing Writer

Friday, March 18, 2005

Not every girl’s journey to love includes an extended bike tour, an ecumenical guru, liaisons with a cowboy and an abusive mechanic, an obsession with a scientifically minded female serial killer and a techno dance number. These wonderfully quirky plot elements made “Quake” a strong and memorable performance.

The play tells the story of a young woman named Lucy. In Lucy’s own words, “My eyes are open and my heart’s on my sleeve. I am moving. Looking for the love of my life.”

“Quake,” directed by C. Ryan Shipley ’05, ran from last Thursday to Sunday in Haugen Theatre.

Shipley’s intentional and intelligent approach to the direction of this production deserves commendation. The imaginative ways in which the production functioned within the sometimes-limiting space of Haugen was especially impressive, as were the seamless and well-executed set changes. Trunks served as both scenery and symbols of Lucy’s journey.

The placement of actors in the sound and lighting booth, the use of black lighting during the monologues of That Woman and whimsical elements, such as cast members holding up pictures of mountains on sticks as “scenery,” were visually pleasing. In keeping with the story of Lucy’s journey, Shipley struck a balance that is difficult for even seasoned directors to achieve.

Stephanie Polt ‘06 as Lucy led the ensemble cast. Her performance was sweetly awkward and vulnerable, with an intense emotional focus and ability that shifted between emotional modes quickly and effortlessly.

Anna Sundberg ‘05 as That Woman, the serial killer whom Lucy idolizes, balanced Polt’s performance. Sundberg brought an incredibly compelling energy of sheer intensity to her role.

The cast was rounded out by a strong and versatile group comprised of Matt Rein ’05, David Middlecamp ’05, Ian Miller ’05 and Katie Skare ’06, each of whom played multiple roles.

The casting of the ensemble in multiple roles hinted at the nature of Lucy’s journey – perhaps even as she thought she was going somewhere, she was just living the same life, with the same people as before.

The overall structure of the piece may have been problematic for some audience members. The dialogue-heavy script and moments of more intense emotion juxtaposed the slow and contemplative moments. This was indicative of the ebb and flow of Lucy’s journey.

In order to get the most out of this unconventionally-structured show, viewers needed to realize early on that they were traveling with Lucy on her journey, which would not necessarily have an easily identifiable or concrete ending. It isn’t necessarily a show that you “get” – rather, it’s a show you travel with, experience and, even through its darker moments, enjoy.

While some may have found the non-linear nature of the play to be confusing, this reviewer found it to be quirky, beautiful and relatable. Ultimately, “Quake” was very well-executed.

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