May 5, 2011

Magritte follows the absurd

Absurdist humor was alive and well on Knox’s pageant wagon when students performed Tom Stoppard’s absurdist one act play, “After Magritte.”
The play tells the strange story of a family accused by an over-eager inspector of committing a crime that didn’t even happen. The search is only complicated by a tuba-loving grandmother, played by junior Kate Donoghue, a constant lack of light bulbs and a man who may or may not have been holding a tortoise. The play starts off weirdly and only gets more bizarre and funny as it goes along, until it comes to the end’s comical clarification.
The play was the second production to be performed on the pageant wagon, which was built by Samantha Newport, ’10, last spring. Because the play was staged in the pageant wagon, the stage was built and broken down for every performance. It was fascinating to watch the performers and volunteers make the set disappear mere minutes after the performance’s end.
The company only had a few weeks to put the entire play together, so the performance still had a couple rough spots. The actors flubbed a few lines, and imperfect projection rendered a few more lines unintelligible, but an enthusiasm for the work and keen sense of humor covered a multitude of sins. The production was an overall success and kept the audience laughing. It was obvious that the company worked hard to put on a good play, and it paid off.
“The characters were all very individual,” senior Lauren Neiheisel said. “Their comedic timing was really great.”
One of the downsides of an open-air theater is the possibility of interruption from outside sources. Occasionally it was difficult to hear the performers speak over the loud whistle of trains or the distant strains of Lincoln Fest musicians. Despite these interruptions, the show still went on.
Senior Alicia Vallorani was glad to see a Knox production of a Tom Stoppard play. She said she does not think that the Theatre Department has focused enough on the absurdists in the past, and feels that this production, as well as the main stage production of “Exit the King,” is a step in the right direction.

Paige Anderson
Paige Anderson is a junior double majoring in computer science and creative writing. This is her second year as co-Mosaic editor. Outside of TKS, Paige has written for Knox’s Office of Communications and for her high school newspaper; her in-depth work won a third-place medal in the Redwood Empire Excellence in Journalism Awards competition. Paige will intern at Amazon during the summer of 2013.

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