By Molly Igoe
Elm Staff Writer
While most Washington College seniors are busy with outlines and chapters of their theses, drama majors are putting on a show. These students have the chance to direct their own plays during the fall semester along with writing a paper.
The first senior thesis production, “The Bacchae 2.1” written by Chuck Mee, was directed by Patrick Derrickson and ran on Oct. 17-18. He said he chose the show “for its Marxist, post-constructionalist, femenist, and queer themes.”
“The Bacchae 2.1” is described as a “steamy, visceral spectacle respite with drag queens, drag kings, girls rubbing each other with oil, and men discussing domination.” It is a modernized version of the classical greek play “The Bacchae,” hence the “2.1” in the title.
This production was unique from many shows at WC in that the evening performances took place at midnight on the patio outside the Casey Swim Center. It was also different in that the script was open-source, allowing Derrickson rights to make changes and “mess around with the script” to fit his vision for the performance.
Rachel Dilliplane, who is directing “Middletown,” by Will Eno, chose the play because she said, “I immediately fell in love with its wry wit and profound wisdom. It is very similar to Thornton Wilder’s classic play ‘Our Town,’ but is more relevant to today’s society.”
“Middletown” focuses around the residents of a small town and explores how people find their purpose in life while trying to live it at the same time. Dillipane said, “The most challenging thing about this play is that it is comprised of dozens of little scenes that take place in a variety of different places with a number of different characters that are never seen again within the play.”
At the same time, she said, “Overall, it’s been an enormously rewarding experience. I think we forget how fortunate we are at Washington College to be allowed the privilege of directing an entire play by ourselves at the undergraduate level.” “Middletown” will be showing Oct. 24-25 in Tawes Theatre.
Matt Ridge is directing “Lucky Ladies” by Dominic Finocchiaro, which will be showing Nov. 7 and 8 in Tawes Theatre. The play revolves around four women who are contestants on America’s longest running dating show, similar to “The Bachelor.” One day the camera crew doesn’t show up, and the women have to figure out if they’re still being filmed and whether or not they will ever find true love.
Ridge chose this play because he believes society today, especially WC students, can relate to the themes it explores. He said, “The play is a commentary on the world of reality television and its success at blurring the lines of what is real and what isn’t. ‘The Lucky Ladies’ will make people think about vanity and love and hopefully piss some people off. I also wouldn’t have picked this play if I thought everyone was going to like it.”
Tamayo Kamimura is directing “The Man Who Turned into a Stick,” by Kodo Abe, which is showing Nov. 14-15 in Tawes Theatre. Kamimura said, “This play had the power to keep me thinking about [it] and my life. As I could not find the answer of the play at first, I thought I was in the same situation about my life, after graduation from Washington College. I thought this play might become a trigger to think about a life for the audience and the production team.”
“The Man Who Turned into a Stick” focuses on a life, and how three different stories all relate to create the chains that make up this one life. Kamimura said, “Thinking about a life and experiencing a life is a totally different thing, but I thought experiencing one’s life in the theatre gives the chance for people to think about their own life.”
Val Dunn created her own adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, which she named “The Beauteous Majesty of Denmark.” The plot follows Ophelia’s journey while exploring gender inequality, self-discovery, and revolution. Performances will be held Nov. 21-22 in Tawes Theatre.
Dunn had to face the challenge of directing her own play while revising the script at the same time. She said, “Choosing this play was a beautiful accident. I wanted to direct ‘Hamlet,’ but found the scale of the play too large for the purposes of my senior thesis. When I could not find an abbreviated version of ‘Hamlet’ that interested me, I decided to create my own adaptation centered around Ophelia’s journey.”
Dunn’s play deviates quite a bit from the original “Hamlet.” “I grew tired of perpetuating the idea that emotional women such as Ophelia must end in ruin. I’m not sure that Shakespeare would be happy with my script, but I hope Ophelia is,” she said.
To reserve tickets for any of these shows, go to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-778-7800. For more information visit www.washcoll.edu/departments/drama. Unless otherwise specified, all shows start at 7:30 p.m.