Mosaic / Reviews / Theater / October 15, 2009

Studio show gathers many laughs

Last weekend’s performance of “Controlling Interest” provided a cute and cheeky commentary on the relations between men and women from their source. Directed by senior Devan Cameron, the cast played eight and nine-year-olds dressed as businessmen and women set inside a chic office for a meeting to discuss whether the girls would allow the boys to like them.

Though the show was short, lasting for little more than 15 minutes, the cast was able to poke fun at many of the generalizations often applied to individuals when different genders collide. Beginning with just the men, the boys discuss business matters, namely whether they eat boogers, as though they were completely in control of the situation. Junior Andrew Polk played the leader of the boys, maintaining his cool and confident demeanor while instructing the other, more nervous boys throughout the show.

The other boys became panicked when Polk mentioned negotiating with the girls. Moments later, two girls confidently enter the room and the boys immediately melt, showing their inferiority and immaturity even before the girls boast about all the things they can do.

The women, played by senior Lyle Lippencott and junior Stephanie Gordon, stole the show, from their high-heeled entrance to their terse negotiating words, and maintained complete control of the scene from the moment they entered the stage. The audience enjoyed Gordon’s ability to shut the boys down with nasty looks and arrogant pronouncements about her ability to do short division. The character was played perfectly. Everyone knows women stereotyped like that.

Lippencott’s ability to heighten the scene when she convinces one of the boys to say he “got off in front of his house” was very much appreciated. The reactions by the boys to the girls’ mastery seemed very genuine, which made the show even funnier.

Freshman Toby Santerelli stood out as having excellent delivery throughout the production and evoked much laughter from the audience.

There were moments when the timing and lines could have been delivered better, especially during the discussions between the boys themselves. At moments, their speech patterns were slow, but this barely hindered the show. Their movements around the stage were very precise and natural for this performance.

The entire cast worked well together to bring forth the scene, which ended with the boys agreeing to allow the girls to occupy their every thought and dream for the rest of their lives. In exchange, the girls offered the possibility that the boys may have a chance one day to see them with their shirts off. As the agreement was settled, the girls leave briskly and the boys scuttle off to make self-improvements before the next day. The usually calm Polk slowly walks to his desk, then lets his head slam down. I feel this all was done very well.

The set was very well put together and the costumes really contributed to the overall performance.

I applaud the cast’s effort to put this show together in only a few weeks and perform it for students and their parents on Family and Friends weekend. The cast even had an unexpected encore performance on Saturday night, as they were not able to accommodate all of their fans with just four shows.

Laura Miller

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