The first of the two plays from this weekend’s New Plays Festival lineup was “Confessions” by junior Danny Donnelly: a one-act about two people who conspire to murder a man. Apollo, played by junior Shashank Neelagiri, and Luna, played by junior Ngan Le, sit on opposite sides of the stage, with Luna being interrogated by the police and Apollo confessing his sins to a priest in a confessional. They make several references to Christian Bale in the film “American Psycho,” leading up to Luna finally confessing to the murder of the man in question. Neelagiri and Le were both excellent in their roles, and put on a great show. Though the play was very short, it was a very affecting piece and left the audience very surprised at the end.
The second play, “Waiting” by Madison Mondeaux ‘15, was much longer, and in three acts. The alternate title to this piece is “A Treatise on Samuel Beckett and His Estate’s Frankly Draconian (If Occasionally Unsuccessful) Attempts to Ban Women from Playing the Roles of Vladimir and Estragon in His Play ‘Waiting for Godot,’ Due in Part to the Fact That, And I Quote, ‘Women Don’t Have Prostates.’” Again, in this piece, the acting was astounding. Senior Natalie Polechonski was a standout as Rachel, who mentally deteriorates throughout the show. Sophomore Molly Jennings played Rachel’s roommate and was equally enjoyable to watch.
The plot is difficult to explain, but simply put, it is about two women who petition playwright Samuel Beckett’s estate to put on an all-female production of his famous play, “Waiting for Godot.” They spend all their time waiting around their apartment for a representative from the Beckett estate to come, while their belongings and the apartment itself begin to slowly vanish into thin air around them. I feel that the play may be pretty confusing to someone who is unfamiliar with Beckett or “Waiting for Godot,” but overall it was an excellent piece.
Senior Holden Meier was absolutely hilarious as the ridiculous Mr. Beckett, the representative from the Samuel Beckett estate. The character goes out of his way to say that the fact that they share the same last name is purely coincidental, although he holds many of Beckett’s original prejudices against women. He entirely ignores Rachel and Tabitha until they each put on a black bowler hat and pretend to be their own male representatives. The landlord and his wife, played respectively by junior Tristan Yi and freshman Claire Novick, also did an excellent job Ñ Yi had the audience in stitches.
The decision to pair these two plays together was excellent: Both were a bit existential and dealt with big ideas that are often difficult to portray on the stage. Despite weighty, somewhat difficult subject matter, the crowd left Studio Theatre very happy on the whole with their experience, and I believe this was one of the festival’s most successful evenings yet.