Round of applause for ‘The Heretic’

Photo by Kaley Patterson

Joel Frambes
Copy Editor

At 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 19-21 and 2 p.m. on Feb. 22, the Cameron University Department of Theatre Arts held a production of Richard Bean’s play “The Heretic.”

“The Heretic” is a dark comedy that sheds light on how a professor, her colleagues, her students and her daughter treat controversial research on “Climate Change: the artist formerly known as Global Warming.”

Set in modern day England over the course of a year, the play centers around Dr. Diane Cassell of the York University Institute of Science and Technology, played by Cameron Professor Maureen DuRant from the Office of Teaching and Learning. Cassell challenges everyone around her whether it is through personal conflict or through her research into the stagnation of sea levels in the Maldives. No one is safe from her sharp tongue and self-righteousness.

With a script as quick-witted as “The Heretic,” all of the actors did well to deliver each quip as sharply as it was written. Not a single biting remark missed its target, and the audience reeled with an appropriate mix of outright shock and hysteric laughter.

The actors were lead by the powerful and fluid portrayal of Cassell by DuRant. The actress moved from line to line seamlessly despite some stumbles over words, and her chemistry with her supporting actors was a flawless compliment to the success of the play.

Senior theater major Byron Phillips played Professor Kevin Maloney. Maloney is Cassell’s former lover and boss, although he hardly seems fit for the parts seeing as how he can never contain her passion and energy. Phillips played the supporting role excellently and put as much effort into arguing with Cassell in the forefront as he put into playing the stumbling drunk in the background.

Junior theater major Samantha Eddy played Phoebe Cassell, the anorexic and aggressive daughter of Dr. Cassell, who appeared to be a victim of her mother, but never lacked her own conviction, especially when she took interest in one of her mother’s students. Eddy played the part well. She took control of the stage when she spoke, but she seemed stiff when not in focus of the scene. Overall, she portrayed the tough outer exterior and vulnerable core of Phoebe well.

Freshman English education major P.M. Williams played Ben Shotter, the requited love interest of Phoebe Cassell who was dedicated to minimizing his impact on the planet. However, Williams maximized his impact on the play with his performance that was true to the character. His comedic timing was perfect for being the butt of the joke as Ben often was, and his range of talents in acting, singing and playing guitar were impressive.

Another reason for the success of this play was the stunning set. The layout before and after the changeover at intermission allowed the actors to easily flow from one side of the set to the other without lollygagging in between positions onstage and backstage. The set crew made an excellent set that not only looked good without being distracting, but it was also functional. The theatre department’s production of “The Heretic” wouldn’t have been the same without hot pizza rolls.


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