Student Reaction to
Darkness at Sunset and Vine
A Novella By Ginger Mayerson
Adapted by Dr. Kelly S. Taylor, Andrea Baldwin, Andrew Calvert, Chandler Thompson, Jay Wilkinson, and Adam Wood
Students in my and some of my colleagues' classes attended our production of Darkness at Sunset and Vine. Here is a sampling of the one page reviews they submitted:
I attended Dr. Kelly Taylor's performance of Darkness at Sunset and Vine. I think everyone did very well. Every character was very well thought out. I think the characters were brilliant, and the actors who portrayed them were genius. For example, all of the male characters were playing more than one role. Throughout the play they were constantly switching roles as the scenes changed. I can only imagine how hard that must have been, not only to try and capture the personality of one character, but to multiple characters. I also enjoyed the comedy behind all the madness going on. I really liked the chalkboard walking across; I felt that added more humor and understanding to the piece. All the actors and actress did amazing at staying in character even through distractions. For example, many people walked in late and the noisy door was creeping they still kept in character, and even when the back board nearly fell down and Andrea saved it, nobody even laughed. That was so well played by Andrea I would have never know that it wasn't supposed to happen. I also think the music added a little bit of pop culture to the mix. The different types of songs played fit each scene nicely. Even though the guns were fake sometimes I felt like it was real. The characters did a great job at acting dead, and using the handkerchief as fake blood.
Darkness at Sunset and Vine contained numerous elements of surprise, intrigue, and confusion which exploded onto the audience in the form of flailing body parts, splattering blood, and a Sin City-like trance. The males in the play possessed an almost acrobatic/circus-like ability to quickly morph into the required roles of any given scene, whether it be a disturbing zombie or quintessential thug. Andrea nailed the lead role as Nellie Gail in her bad-ass tone and apparel, most likely because she is already a CPS bad-ass. I found parallel qualities between the play and Garrison Keillor's Guy Noir: Private Eye, except Andrea composed both the villain, heroine, and detective making her the ultimate Femme Fatale as described in the program. Andrea's descriptive narrator style seemed to model Garrison Keillor's suave detective, although sparked with more flare. The location of Sunset and Vine seemed ironic to me, seeing as how this area is infamous for boisterous and bright nightclubs that rarely see darkness, even though the metaphoric tones of the play undoubtedly utilized the stark contrast to set the mood of the scene. Mayerson's use of actual places in LA weighed the current surface situation to a plausible future scenario that reeked of subverted issues that now plague our society. Mayerson evidently hates Bush and Republicans in general, seen in her choice to use Schwarzenegger and Jenna Bush's cloned baby, Millie, as the coveted child. The entire play seemed to exude irony; from Andrea's "Vegan" diet, to the explosion at the end that killed both Sara Lee and Millie who had encompassed the focal purpose of the play.
I attended Darkness at Sunset and Vine on
Thursday, the first showing. The show was hard for me to understand, but
I know that the show was based on a book written by Ginger Mayerson. Our
fellow classmates did a fabulous job sending the message across about
their feelings towards the U.S. government. This show used many elements
that helped create the reality of the story. I am going to talk about
the use of characters, props, and space which made this a unique
performance to watch.
I loved this post-apocalyptic bloodbath that featured a strong, steamy lead character portrayed by Andrea Baldwin. She was magnificent. The entire cast was great, but her performance in particular was fearless.
I attended the first showing of Darkness at Sunset and Vine. It is based on the novel by Ginger Mayerson. The play was set in Los Angeles, after the fall of the U.S. government. Since the play itself was a little confusing to me, I am going to write about how it used the elements of space, characters and props to produce a very interesting performance.
Darkness at Sunset is a performance involving students from the University of North Texas. The director is Kelly Taylor along with the cast traveled to Arkansas to perform in front of a body of students from other schools. The sunset play was an instant hit. Each individual watching only reported positive things about the play. First, the play was unique bringing in minimal staging techniques. For example, the stage consisted of the cast, one chair and four or five toy guns. This helped to keep the focus on the characters. The lack of staging really helped the audience focus on the words as well, and each person was able to create his or her own seen of what is going on. This is great because some members of the audience felt the play was poking fun at the President and secret service men, while others felt this play was more of movie and this one person was in a world full of zombies.
A second feature positively seen in the play took place during the transitions of scenes. We knew a change was occurring because a person representing a sexy ring girl holding a cardboard sign walked across the stage. However, instead of having numbers on the sign, a special make up of words were written to keep the audience entertained. For each transition, funny sayings were thrown on to stage, For example, during one scene a number of different people were supposed to be killed or injured. A woman was the killer, so the sign said, "Killing them softly with her gun." Clearly the saying is from a popular nineties song.
While the language is mature and many elements display negative views geared toward democracy I find this performance to be very funny and for anyone who needs a good laugh.