A unique, original theatre production became a hit throughout SCSU’s campus recently. “Wives, Goddesses, & Slaves (Or… Where R My Batches and Cookies?)” was held at the Performing Arts Center’s Arena Stage with six performances from Oct. 21-26.
The play, which was performed by students, portrayed innocence while also evoking discomfort through confrontation of society’s harsh realities. Lacking a script or plot, the production was created through actor’s improvisation and creativity. Each scene depicted different representations of women and men, employing different stereotypes that are apparent in today’s society.
The production presented scenes that highlighted a youthful, clown-like innocence while illustrating darker, underlying issues that exist today such as rape, homicide, abortion and domestic abuse. The diversity of the themes led the audience through a roller-coaster of emotions that were important in bringing awareness to social issues.
The cast members for the production included SCSU students Jack Becker, Nico Curtis, Mara Ruth Johnson, Kaylee Kitzman, Hadessah Loven, Abigal Oelke, Lindsay Redman, Amber Samson, Shannon Sharp, Safiyyan Washington, and Seth Wester. These students formed together under the direction of Vladimir Rovinsky from early September until the end of October to create the play from scratch.
Bringing the ideas to life without script essentials provided a new element to traditional theatre. “It definitely had its good moments and bad moments. I am so used to being given a script, analyzing and memorizing it, then performing. With this, we began by playing games and interacting with one another; through that our characters began to develop. New people came out of us,” Mara Johnson, a key actress in the play, said.
The production’s rehearsals explored ancient Greek stereotypes of feminism as inspiration for the play. Consisting of many small episodes and monologues, the play maintained audience member’s attention throughout the dramatic ups-and-downs of the show. A main theme included the relationship between males and females through various scenarios.
Each show gained popularity throughout the student body at SCSU, as the Arena Stage became packed many nights and was even sold out for the Sunday matinee. Positive reviews became common throughout campus.
Paul VanKeuren, an SCSU student, had positive feedback after attending the show twice. “Wives, Goddesses, and Slaves was fantastic. The characters were lifelike, compelling, and appropriately exaggerated.”
“I loved the #minnesotagurl scene, it was hilarious, and very much like some of my friends. The domestic violence scene with Kaylee and Jack was beautiful in how clean and minimalistic it was, in addition to accurately portraying a very serious thing,” VanKeuren wrote.
The production left the audience entranced between decisions to laugh or cry, but overall to be impacted by the serious themes and undeniable humor.
Catch the theatre bug? More shows are up and coming to satisfy the desire for dramatic productions. “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare will be premiering Nov. 18-23 at the Center Stage in the Performing Arts Center. If interested in being a part of future shows, “The Skin of Our Teeth,” by Thornton Wilder will be a production occurring in the spring.