By: Tyler Ferrari ~Guest Writer~
The Xavier University theatre department took a big risk when they decided to experiment with repertory theater, with having three shows performed over two weeks. The undertaking is an amazing accomplishment for the department.
Maya Farhat, Mac Blais and Eric Minion star as Emma, Jerry and Robert respectively in “Betrayal.” The trio put on perfect British accents throughout the show as they tell a tale of deceit, friendship and loves gained and lost. Bruce Cromer masterfully directs the show, effectively conveying the undertones of “Betrayal” through body language. A hilarious bit with Micah Price as a waiter incorporates a comedic pause with the play’s overarching tragic moments. It also provides some classic dramatic moments that theatre audiences typically love to see. It’s the performances by the actors, however, that really drive the show forward and make the audience feel as if they have been there the whole time for the affair between Jerry and Emma. “Betrayal” was good, but it had no special touch to it.
“Miss Julie” is considerably the most well-known show due to its history and reputation but that doesn’t mean it’s the same story that others may have seen told before. Director Regina Pugh has crafted a beautiful show, and the set draws the audience deeper into the story, even though no specific time period is given. Alex Roberts headlines as Miss Julie in her best role yet, alongside Griff Bludworth playing Jean, whose work comes close to his performance as Moritz in “Spring Awakening.” The show also provides an opportunity for Sara Ringenbach to shine as Kristin, which may be a gateway performance for her to land bigger roles in the future. The play provides some laughs with the ensemble scene, but it’s the dialogue between Roberts and Bludworth that draws the audience in. The two have a great chemistry and there is a genuine feeling of empathy for both characters, resulting in a genuinely fascinating show. However, “Miss Julie” had some points where it lagged on and felt over-dramatic.
It’s extremely rare to ever see a student written production produced on a professional stage in the world of theatre, but Tatum Hunter can add playwright to her resume with “Begotten.” The play is aesthetically gorgeous and Bridget Leak’s direction really draws in the audience the way it was meant to. “Begotten” is one of those shows that has a little bit of everything.
There are some funny moments, along with some deeply touching scenes that make this show seem as if it has been around for the past ten years. “Begotten” also provides some great moments for the actors to truly show their chops. Justin Lee and Kalie Kaimann stand out the most with scenes that blend comedy and tragedy to bring a lesson to the stage. There’s also solid work from Sean Burlingame, Kyle Daniels and Elizabeth Rancourt, who all have standout performances in the show. The acting seemed wooden at times in the beginning of “Begotten” and it got better, but the show ended way too abruptly.
“Betrayal,” “Miss Julie” and “Begotten” are all so unique that the three shows cannot be compared to each other in any way. They stand out in ways of their own and make Xavier University Theatre a powerhouse of the dramatic art.
If you want to witness the true talent the department has to offer, go see these shows. All three will have you leaving the theater with something you’ll want to talk about.