Theatre Debuts Playhouse Creatures

by Tahira Carter
Convergence Journalism Student

Playhouse Creatures, the first theatre production of the semester, debuted this weekend at the Cameron University Theatre and was well attended by the local community.

The play, a 17th century British tale, took the audience back to a time when seeing women on stage was a novelty. Those who attended the production were drawn into the world where these ‘creatures’ existed, where they triumphed in the glamour and adoration they received onstage and also the dismal reality of the turmoil and ridicule they experienced offstage. Frequent interchanging between an inferior set and a superior one, made it possible for the director to effectively convey both aspects of the women’s lives.

Despite the fact that there were two male actors in the play, the underlying themes of this complex production were undoubtedly focused on women. Bound together in a male-dominated world they send a message of strength and “perseverance”, a word used by the production’s Nell, Leah Mazur, to describe the message that the play sends to women. “All the women in the play, they go for what they want and they get it and that’s definitely the message that it sends to young women today. Don’t give up, do what you want and be good at it.” Leah commented.
Neila Ettienne, who played the role of Mrs. Marshall, pulled reference from personal experiences in the theatre to interpret her understanding of what the play signifies for women.
“One of the biggest themes in Playhouse Creatures is the love and passion for the arts and I think a lot of women are attached, more than men, to the theatre. It’s evident here in our theatre; we have a lot more women than men and a lot of the roles we have to fight for it. I remember in the last ACTF show there were only two female roles available and it was basically a fight, we had to fight for those roles. So, I think it’s the love, passion and commitment to the arts.”
While there are quite a few sobering moments in the production, humor was also a constant. The director, Dr. David H. Fennema, did an excellent job of relating the unorthodox approach and wittily perverse humor of April De Angelis’ work. When asked why he chose this particular production Dr. Fennema revealed that, while he thought it was a good choice that could be portrayed well by the actors, it was a collaborative decision by the faculty.
“The play was first presented to me by our costumer, Eric Abbott, and he suggested it as something that we can do well and cast well here at Cameron. So I looked at the script. [I] read the script a couple of times and then I presented it to the faculty. The faculty makes the final decisions about what our season will be. So, everyone on the faculty liked it and we decided that we would do it.”
One of the most challenging aspects of the production was creating a feel of authenticity from the time period. The accurate materialization of a 17th century playhouse required much investigation and dedication. The desired effect was finally achieved through a shared effort amongst the members of cast, which include Truly Pettijohn, Hannah Brock, Jay Diaz, Tyler Breeze, Brandi Goldsmith, Stephanie Hesse, Christian Gillis and Josh Fortney.

Playhouse Creatures, the first theatre production of the semester, debuted this weekend at the Cameron University Theatre and was well attended by the local community. The play, a 17th century British tale, took the audience back to a time when seeing women on stage was a novelty. Those who attended the production were drawn into the world where these ‘creatures’ existed, where they triumphed in the glamour and adoration they received onstage and also the dismal reality of the turmoil and ridicule they experienced offstage. Frequent interchanging between an inferior set and a superior one, made it possible for the director to effectively convey both aspects of the women’s lives. Despite the fact that there were two male actors in the play, the underlying themes of this complex production were undoubtedly focused on women. Bound together in a male-dominated world they send a message of strength and “perseverance”, a word used by the production’s Nell, Leah Mazur, to describe the message that the play sends to women. “All the women in the play, they go for what they want and they get it and that’s definitely the message that it sends to young women today. Don’t give up, do what you want and be good at it.” Leah commented. Neila Ettienne, who played the role of Mrs. Marshall, pulled reference from personal experiences in the theatre to interpret her understanding of what the play signifies for women. “One of the biggest themes in Playhouse Creatures is the love and passion for the arts and I think a lot of women are attached, more than men, to the theatre. It’s evident here in our theatre; we have a lot more women than men and a lot of the roles we have to fight for it. I remember in the last ACTF show there were only two female roles available and it was basically a fight, we had to fight for those roles. So, I think it’s the love, passion and commitment to the arts.” While there are quite a few sobering moments in the production, humor was also a constant. The director, Dr. David H. Fennema, did an excellent job of relating the unorthodox approach and wittily perverse humor of April De Angelis’ work. When asked why he chose this particular production Dr. Fennema revealed that, while he thought it was a good choice that could be portrayed well by the actors, it was a collaborative decision by the faculty. “The play was first presented to me by our costumer, Eric Abbott, and he suggested it as something that we can do well and cast well here at Cameron. So I looked at the script. [I] read the script a couple of times and then I presented it to the faculty. The faculty makes the final decisions about what our season will be. So, everyone on the faculty liked it and we decided that we would do it.” One of the most challenging aspects of the production was creating a feel of authenticity from the time period. The accurate materialization of a 17th century playhouse required much investigation and dedication. The desired effect was finally achieved through a shared effort amongst the members of cast, which include Truly Pettijohn, Hannah Brock, Jay Diaz, Tyler Breeze, Brandi Goldsmith, Stephanie Hesse, Christian Gillis and Josh Fortney.

You may also like...

0 thoughts on “Theatre Debuts Playhouse Creatures”

Leave a Reply