Streamers - Soaring to New Height in Campus Theater
BY Marni Rapoport
Whats that I hear? Are those the sounds of ROTC being drilled on our campus? No, thats just the cast of Streamers, working hard. If you missed these well-trained soldiers marching across the university or the staff, you missed a top-notch production put on by an electric but cohesive group of actors.
The Stevenson Theater Guild joined together with the African-American Theater Troupe (or in this case is that "troop?") from Oct. 21 to 24 to present David Rabes Streamers, directed by Don Williams.
Streamers deals with four soldiers about to be shipped off to Vietnam and the fears, friendships and self-realizations they experience. Although the play is set in 1965, the problems of coping with homosexuality, racial tension, and other issues in the military are still very applicable in the present day.
In its exploration of the fears and insecurities of these four soldiers, David Rabe employs a kind of violence and frank language not present in many works. It is this forthrightness which shocks the audience, immediately drawing them into the lives of these characters. The humorous banter among the soldiers and their sergeants made the moments of tension even more poignant.
The different reactions of the characters to the issue of homosexuality was an insightful look at a controversial issue which still troubles our society, especially after President Clintons revival of it when he took office. The three methods of dealing with the homosexual issue-complete acceptance of homosexuality, homophobia, and trying and ignore the issue-were embodied in the three main characters of Streamers.
The script contains many difficult and violent scenes, which the actions succeeded-despite having only four weeks of rehearsal time-in performing so that the audience felt scared angry and uneasy right along with the characters. The technical aspects of the performance as well were detailed and convincing in these troubling scenes.
The talented cast included Justin Carella as Martin, Evrett Kramer as Richie, Eric Jackson as Carlyle, Lance Windish as Billy, Joshua Bee Gram and Blake Riggs (understudy) as roger, Jamer Kruk as Cokes, Mark Bentkauer as Rooney, Eyal Alon as an M.P. Lieutenant, Blake Riggs as PFC Hinson, Dewey Wong as PFC Clark and Barry Zink as an M.P. On the diversity of backgrounds in the cast, Dewey Wong said, "Streamers gave a context where people who may not have come together on a common piece of theater,"
"Theater to me is such a wonderful release from all the tension of school," said Eric Jackson, a chemistry major. This mixture of students proved beneficial to those involved exclusively in theater as well. "It exhilarates me to watch the actors who have never performed before, as they realize that theater is for everybody, and how incredible it feels to be able to be anyone," said Jamer Kruk, a senior theater arts major.
As both theater and food for thought, Streamers was an enriching experience both for the actors involved and its audiences. Look for don Williams next Production. Jo Turners Came and Gone, in February - considering how well Streamers went, Im sure it will provide to be well worth your while.
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