Senior Performances were performed this past weekend from February 9th to the 12th in the Dungeon Theater of the Kalamazoo College Fine Arts Building. Four plays were shown, all of them directed by Kalamazoo College seniors.
101 Humiliating Stories, written by Lisa Kron K’ 83, was directed and performed by Madison Donoho K’17 and Emma Franzel K’17. Franzel and Donoho both play Kron and portray the experiences in her piece. As Kron, Donoho and Franzel tell of past humiliating experiences such as “Geeky celebrity encounters” with famous actress Sigourney Weaver and a local weatherman, and speaking at a high school reunion about being a lesbian. Donoho and Franzel tell these anecdotes with self-deprecating comedic charm.
Aidan Johnson K’17 directed Gruesome Playground Injuries by Rajiv Joseph. The play starred Megan Wilson K’20 as Doug and Rachel Frank K’ 19 as Kayleen. Gruesome Playground Injuries tracks these two characters as they grow up from the age of 8 to 33 and their various injuries.
Piss and Vinegar, written by Camille Wood K’17 and directed by Clapton Marquis K’17, stars Cody Colvin K’17 as Mr. X, an unemployed neighborhood outcast that influences a kid named Donald, played by Ethan Cuka K’20. The supporting cast consisted of Tinsel, played by Adam Gothard K’17; Rez played by Matthew Ryder K’ 18; and Grub played by Thania Stavropoulos K’17.
Directing Piss and Vinegar, Marquis found more difficulty than he expected.
“Basically, I thought going into it, ‘Oh, yeah, I’ve got this. No problem. But in the end, I think I learned how I am as a director and how hefty productions are,” said Marquis. “I also felt like I learned a lot being around other students my age that I was in a leadership role of but not in charge of necessarily in control of.”
Stuck in Neutral is a one-man play written and starring Kyle Lampar K’ 17 and directed by Thaddeus Buttrey K’17. The play is about an Uber driver named Blake as he speaks with many different oddball characters that he drives to their destination.
For Lampar, the process behind Stuck in Neutral started a year and a half ago when he first had the idea. The idea soon took a turn with the Uber shooting incident last year.
“[The Kalamazoo shooting] was a sort of intense ultimatum for me was whether to continue to write this idea that I had or to go in a different direction. Ultimately I’m glad that I decided to keep writing,” Lampar said.
Conflicts in the plays deal with controversial topics, like identity. Donald in Piss and Vinegar and Lisa Kron in 101 Humiliating Stories discuss coming out to people and the inner-conflict many feel in doing so. Gruesome Playground Injuries focuses on why people feel the need to hurt themselves. Both Doug and Kayleen contend with problems such as low self-esteem and drug addiction. While Stuck in Neutral examines how people dealing with guilt and trauma by using the real life incident of the Kalamazoo shooting incident.
The next Kalamazoo College theater production is Raisin in the Sun, which will be performed Feb. 23-27.