This semester at CCNY, there are scheduled four productions put on by the Theater Department. By today, Halloween (Happy Halloween, everyone!), two productions have been staged, Jesus Hopped the A Train and 6 Characters in Search of an Author.
Jesus Hopped the A Train ran from September 27 through 29th. The play was written by Stephen Adly Guirgis in 2000. The City College production was directed by student Christian Bravo. The play focuses on two men incarcerated at Riker’s Island on murder charges, begging the question as to whether or not motivation and drive to commit crimes should make a difference as to their punishment. The show was performed in Compton-Goethals 318. The production was well-received by students and faculty alike.
The production’s set was decidedly minimalist, providing only for two separate prison cells. The lighting was dark and cool in color. These two aspects of the show were strongest aside from the script, as they lent the production a very dark and serious tone. The acting was good, but the choices made by the actors could have been stronger. Overall, the production was good and the themes conveyed to the audiences effectively and enjoyably.
6 Characters in Search of an Author was written by Luigi Pirandello in 1921. It was directed by City College faculty member Donny Levit. It went up on the Marian Anderson Theater main stage in Aaron Davis Hall from October 25th through 27th. 6 Characters in Search of an Author is an absurdist, metatheatrical play about six characters, literal characters, who come to a theater in the hopes of being placed in a play. They have their own stories, but they need them written down. The bulk of the action follows the characters relaying to the actors their stories. This production was met by tepid reviews.
The set, again, was very simplistic, only a wall and moon. The lighting was fantastic and very intricate, a different color for each of the characters as they told their unique dramas. This provided a truly stunning effect that kept the audience at least someone captivated throughout the dragging production. This production was very long, over two hours in running time. The way in which the show was directed was also unappealing. The acting choices were not necessarily the strongest and this was exacerbated by the dragging plot. Overall, the production was watchable, but not up to the standards we had all hoped for.
Over the course of the rest of the semester, two more productions will be coming up. On November 15-17, student-directed A Strange and Separate People will play in Aaron Davis Hall Theater B. On December 6-8, an adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s The Inspector General, adapted and directed by CCNY Theater Faculty Rob Barron will run, also in Theater B.
This looks to be a very good semester in CCNY Theater, and I strongly urge everyone to come out to the remaining shows!