Yesterday night, as a short break from my seemingly all-time-consuming studies for final exams, I went to watch the Firstyear Theatre Performance, a series of monologues and scenes all about religion. The students had chosen extracts from plays, some of them more famous than others, e.g. Waiting for Godot and No Exit, two of my favorite plays. There were also scenes from Arthur Miller’s Crucible, the legendary Doctor Faustus, Timothy Mason’s Ascension Day, Lawrence D. Cohen’s Carrie and many more.
In Lawrence D. Cohen’s Carrie-Scene, a young girl with “magic capabilities” (to make things move) tries to convince her mother, who keeps her locked in the house except for time at school, to let her go to prom – while her mother is deeply concerned and convinced that this is only another attempt from Satan to lure her daughter into alcohol, boys etc. Hence every argument the girl presents is only countered by the mother’s angry screams: “Satan, Satan, Satan!” In another monologue, a recording to a far away friend, Shira and Lux both represented a side to the personality of the character and discussed the task set to the character, to find out what “real religion” is. This search included a bumper sticker that said “honk if you love Jesus” – and it wasn’t until the character realized that most people loved Jesus at those stop lights where he missed out on it going green and driving on, that he understood that “real religion is not about a bumper sticker.”
No Exit, maybe my favorite play, by Sartre, was enacted by Finnish Y1 student Mirva and William from South-Korea/HK. The two presented the first scene to us in which Garcin first comes to hell and finds it to be so very different from where he came from and what people said it would be like. There are no torture chambers, he doesn’t hear screams, there is a man who seems to be something like a butler and Garcin even comes to missing his tooth brush – although the butler reminds him: “What, Mr. Garcin, would be the use of brushing your teeth in hell?” Waiting for Godot was staged by Alejandro (Ecuador) and Sarah (US). It was a scene from the very beginning of the play, including the famous words: “Let’s go.” “We can’t.” “Why not?” “We’re waiting for Godot.” Since I have seen the play already a couple of times at different occasions and by different theatre groups, both amateur ad professionals, I found this presentation too be less expressive than it could have been, from an acting perspective, though the two really had all the “classic” actions and gestures of Vladimir and Estragon in it – but obviously the play was just perfect to be used in the context of religion.
Ana from Mexico and Ana from India enacted a dialogue between a Jewish boy and a Protestant girl who are in love but yet in dispute – originally claiming that everything is okay (“My parents have not one prejudicial bone in their bodies!”), till they have to admit that actually, they have fundamental problems in their relationship: “It’s my dad… he hates all jews. […] He always said there’s never been a Jew in our family – not since the beginning of time.” Their parent’s prejudices and hatred for each other’s religion even overshadow their future plans: “Imagine if we got married?” “My dad would … kill me.” “My mom would kill … herself.” In the end, the cute couple comes to the overwhelming conclusion to which, I bet, many teenagers come every day: “It’s not him, who’s the problem. It’s his parents and your parents and my parents!”
This last one was definitely my favorite scene of the whole evening: serious, real issues and conflicts mixed with a great portion of wonderful humor, presented by two wonderful theatre students (who, still, could barely hide their giggles themselves – that’s how hilarious it all was!) – LPC Theatre at its best. Thank you to all who contributed to this performance – it was a wonderful and truly enjoyable evening and the Firstyears really go to show off the skills they have acquired this year in their Theatre class. Since they all got to choose their own scenes, each student had a role that fit him or her just perfectly – which only added to the great atmosphere and high quality of acting that we could see!