Recitals expand social justice, melodrama

Recitals expand social justice, melodrama

Gina Stutzman (left) and Grace Eidmann have prepared for their upcoming senior theater recitals all semester.  Photo by Julia Baker.

Gina Stutzman (left) and Grace Eidmann have prepared for their upcoming senior theater recitals all semester. Photo by Julia Baker.

Showcasing a wide spectrum of theater, Gina Stutzman and Grace Eidmann will present their senior theater recitals as the spring semester comes to a close.

Stutzman will perform “Vera or the Nihilists” by Oscar Wilde, under the direction of Angie Noah, a junior. Since the piece was originally a five-part play, a lot of material had to be cut. Stutzman wrote monologues to summarize the removed portions to convey the entire story.

“Vera or the Nihilists” is a melodramatic play about a group of conspirators in Russia who attempt to kill the czar. To complicate matters, the leader ends up falling in love with the czar’s son.

The show was a complete flop when it debuted in the 1800’s, so it will be a challenge for the cast to bring it to life. The cast consists of seniors Stutzman, Nate Burmester, Rachel Clasen, Chet Franklin and Emily Shantz; Gary Johnson, a junior; Greta Breckbill, a sophomore; Jacob Landis-Eigsti, a first-year; and Goshen College alumni Derek Bontrager, Joe Hartman, Derek Koch and David Martinez.

“I would really just like people to take a second look at the play,” Stutzman said, “and reconsider its theatrical value. Plus, melodrama is pretty hot.”

Stutzman’s recital will be on Tuesday at 8 p.m. in Umble Center.

Eidmann will perform a variety of pieces, including selections from “The Laramie Project” by Moises Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater Project. “Laramie Project” is based on interview conducted by Tectonic members in Laramie, Wyo, after the murder of a gay college student, Matthew Shepard.

Eidmann will also present four monologues from “Fires in the Mirror,” by Anna Deavere Smith, and an original work entitled “Entrevistas Chimbotanas.” Eidmann created this final piece by compiling sections of interviews she conducted while on Study-Service Term in Peru in summer 2008.

All three of these works represent voices of the marginalized and oppressed and stimulate social justice.

The show incorporates an ensemble cast, who each represent multiple roles within the show. Cast members, in addition to Eidmann, include: Jenna Grubagh, a junior; Ben Jacobs, a senior; Meg Kennel, a sophomore; Andrea Kraybill, a sophomore; Allison Landis, a senior; Jesse Landis-Eigsti, a senior; Patrick Maxwell, a sophomore; Patrick Ressler, a sophomore; and Marlys Weaver, a junior.

“[The show] addresses a myriad of complex issues, such as homophobia, racism, the death penalty, poverty and more,” Eidmann said. “My hope for this show is that it will result in conversation about these issues.”

Eidmann’s performance will be on Saturday at 9 p.m. in Umble Center.

The following day at noon there will be an informal talk-back session in Java Junction, open to everyone. The hope is to create a forum to address the issues and questions raised in the performance.

Both Eidmann and Stutzman’s recitals are free and open to the public, and will be followed by receptions with food.

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Written by Alysha Landis

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