Friday, December 3, 2010

Balch Arena Theater

Over the months, there have been some incredible performances at the BAC. And now, a recap (of the ones I attended).

The mind-blowingly elaborate set of The Alchemist.
The Alchemist
November 6

Summary: Written by Ben Jonson in the early 1600s, the play sounds Shakespearean, as well it should; apparently, William wasn't the only one writing that way in that time period (he just gets all the credit). The performance was the comedic tale of two con-men (and one con-woman, operating multiple schemes simultaneously, from the same house. The balancing act and ensuing panic was delightful, and, as my first show, I was very impressed with the extensive set, especially considering they removed a portion of the theater's seating in order to build it. Little did I know that shows do this all the time. [Related Article: Tufts Daily]

November 8

Summary: Previously described as the scariest theater experience of my life, this two-character play brought the incredibly real, raw, and gut-wrenching agony of one male schoolteacher and one struggling female student to life on the B.A.T. stage. The emotions were breathtaking, and it literally left me with a headache, a buildup of suppressed rage, and tears just barely repressed. The actors were, of course, wonderful, but the script was especially compelling. Themes included gender roles, political correctness, and power struggles. [Related Article: Tufts Daily]

The stunning life-sized trees constructed for Uncle Vanya.
Uncle Vanya
November 18

Summary: A Russian piece, this play told the tale of some passionate people, and some not-so-passionate ones, living relatively useless lives. It plays with environmentalism, failure, and peace in afterlife. My friends Abby, Mayabea, and Sydney were involved in the production, so props to them for a job well done! [Related Article: Tufts Daily]

Pretzel Night
November 22

Summary: An original show written by Tufts students, this short comedy featured yours truly. Details are available in its own post. The Tufts Daily has no related article; tsk, tsk, tsk.

The brightly-lit set, populated even before the show began.
December 2

Summary: The first musical I saw here, Assassins tells the tales of assassins, or would-be assassins, who succeed at or attempted to kill a president of the United States. The show culminates in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the assassins sing about their "rights" to do as they please, to seek fame and happiness, and to peruse their dreams (although the failures of the American Dream is a prevalent theme of the production). The show included a handful of real guns and real gunshots, which made for an engaging (and somewhat terrifying) view from my seat a bit stage-left of center. [Related Article: Tufts Daily]

If you're ever at Tufts, I strongly encourage you to come see a performance. They're cheap (or free!), and always worth it.

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