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BET’s ‘Quickies’ wow with student written plays

BET’s ‘Quickies’ wow with student written plays

By Alana Hodson

Section: Arts, Featured

February 5, 2016

While full-length plays and performances require the most time, effort, staff and material, there is still much to be said for the shorter works of theater as their production may be just as well-liked and entertaining for the audience. The true brilliance of short plays was demonstrated Sunday, Jan. 31 with the collection of 10-minute plays in a show called “Quickies 2016” presented by the Brandeis Ensemble Theater (BET).

The show, produced by Emily Galloway ’18, Morgan Winters ’17 and Halley Saul ’17, was a big hit with the Brandeis community, drawing in a large audience in the SCC Theater and keeping them fully engaged throughout the performances. The show featured nine short plays, and they were all completely unique. The first act was called “The Bagel Angle: A Half-Baked Playgel Based on Engels” by Aaron Goodwin ’18 and Abbie Goldberg ’17, and it opened the evening with an upbeat musical comedy. This play takes place at a shop called “Brandew’s Bagels” where the employees attempt to rebel against the tyranny of their boss, Brandrew, through a song promoting social justice in the workplace. Although the staff ultimately fails, the play ended with a surprising twist as several bagels were flung into the front row.

The next Quickie took on a more serious note, exploring the struggle to take a friendship to the next level. Barbara Spidle ’16 and Lilia Shrayfer ’18 delivered strong performances in their roles in the play “Waves” by Margot Grubert ’17, where two best friends discuss the nature of change and permanence, moving from the abstract concepts and crashing into reality as a sudden kiss brings their discussion into context. Another play that peered into the more solemn aspects of human nature was “Incendiary” by Ben T. Montrym ’19, which focused on the marriage of a husband and wife, both of whom seems to have a curious fascination with fire. The play touches upon social movements like breaking traditional gender roles, as the husband believes that it is the man’s job to fully provide and care for his wife while the wife states that she is able to stand on her own. However, the main theme of the performance was to observe a moment of a marriage bending under the strain of financial burden, recent trauma, family issues and even alcoholism. Still, the end of the play suggests that there is still hope for their marriage, since despite all the hardships, the two still care for one another.

The exaggerated absurdity of some traditional gender roles was made the star of a play called “Once Upon a Matriarchy” by Winters, which was a parody of classic Disney tales like Cinderella and Rapunzel. This performance probably won the most laughs from the audience due to its creative twist on the typical model of fairytales. In this version the men and women switch roles, and it was now the princesses who got to rescue the handsome prince. Furthermore, the prince was the one with the “magical” fairy godmother, and “royal ball” was actually more like a Brandeis orientation party, featuring the infamous “Wobble” dance. The play concluded with the characters realizing the absurdity of gender roles, the prince refusing to marry the princess and then the princess hooking up with the fairy godmother.

One Quickie of the night that was particularly relatable (especially to those from the more rural areas of the country, including myself) was “This Literally Happened” by Ana-Sofia Meneses ’16 and Bethany Greenbaum ’16. Consisting of a narrative of the horrors of public transportation while attempting to travel from Boston to New Haven, this play brought to the stage the greatest strife in a fast-paced life where pretty much everything that could go wrong did go wrong, including delays, crazy passengers, mistaken trains, misleading instructions and getting disoriented in the stations. However, despite the immense frustration caused by the trip, it all seems worth it in the end when the narrator finally meets up with her close friend.

The show displayed a wide range of talent on the part of the writers, producers, directors and actors, and also featured a variety of themes from comedy, love, human nature, free will and even the effects of narcotics. Other incredible Quickies of the night were “Metharoni and Cheese” by Carly Chernomorets ’16, “Movie Plot” by Amanda Ehrmann ’18, “Cogitas Ergo Sum” by Jacob Regenstein ’17 and “Birds” by Jason Kasman ’16. Although 10-minute plays may not hold the production power of full-scale performance, they undoubtedly hold their own in the world of Brandeis Theater.

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