The second night of King’s Infringement Festival put drama where you might expect it most—the infamous couches of dorm common rooms.
I arrived at Alex Hall (admittedly late) to an exodus of pleased theatre-goers carrying dixie cups of soup from Alex Hall’s second floor common room, where the writer Pearl Chan’s existentialist play Paraleben was met by positive reviews from the crowd. Jake Eidinger, a longtime KTS participant, said the play was well-written and nicely staged under Alanna Griffin’s direction, although all I personally had to go on was the delicious-smelling soup. God only knows what went on in that room…
I joined the crowd for Rach Klein’s Space Monkeys, directed by Ariel Weiner. Ushered in by the ever-charming Greta Landis, we took our seats in airplane formation and awaited the promised appearance of a “20-something lover of Gandhi’s philosophy and Tyler Durden.” The play’s premise created some interesting dialogue between a well-known character and his ideological opponent, but at times the play suffered when the actors were hard to see and hear.
It was out into the cold again and across campus to the North Pole Bay common room for Siobhan Fleury’s The King of Liechtenstein, an improbable comedy about a little old lady using the Internet. The show had some hilarious moments, especially from His Majesty Boris IV of Liechtenstein (Isaac Sliwowicz) and his appropriately mute bodyguard Tim Mens. The well-cast characters heightened the jokes with ever-growing absurdity, rarely missing the mark in their comedic pacing.
Back across the campus and in Alex Hall again, we ascended the stairs to the third floor common room for Claire McMaster’s Mise en Skein. King’s alternative theatre is known for pushing the existentialist envelope, but in Skein McMaster’s three archetypal characters were richly furnished with poetic dialogues and embodied by a talented cast. In particular, Charlotte Julian’s glassy-eyed monologues brought impressive depth to her character.
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All in all, Infringement’s Dorm Night was well worth the price of admission, even without the soup. Though the plays were sometimes diminished by their odd settings, students’ acting and writing talents shone through in a goodie bag of the bizarre, the profound and the hilarious.
– John Last
Paraleben, written by Pearl Chan and directed by Alanna Griffin, examines the existential implications of eating soup. Much of the play’s dialogue relies on timing; characters sometimes said words together, or took turns speaking individual syllables of one word. This interesting style of wordplay helped make Paraleben a truly unique theatrical production. Complete with witty banter, creepy masks, and invisible soup, the play explores what it means to exist in a nihilistic universe.
– Alexandra Cooke
Infringement continues tonight, Feb. 6, in the KTS Red Room, featuring plays by Alexandra Eaton, Tom Lute, Emma Morris, Sean Mott, Vaughn Pearson, and Jacob Rhodes, Warren McDougald, Calum Agnew, Simcha Walfish and Laura Holtebrinck. We’ll have reviews of the Red Room shows on Saturday, following the shows’ second performances on Friday.
[box type=”info”]Disclosure: Philippa Wolff, our online editor, while having limited influence over this review, did work on The King of Liechtenstein.[/box]