Blue Window considers loneliness of urban life
Directed by Judy Braha.
Starring Kellie Wills '91, Christopher Coon '91, Charlene Suwanabhand '93, Deep Katdare '92, Leelila Strogov '92, Michelle P. Perry '91, and Michael Friedhoff G.
At Kresge Little Theater.
Nov. 1-3 and 8-10.
By KEVIN FRISCH
MANY PLAYS THAT DEAL WITH the desperation of the human condition and other such things, either fail to move me, or leave me feeling rather depressed. Blue Window, much to my happiness, did neither. Though the play did make me think about the points it made, I did not leave the theater feeling gloomy. This is a tribute to not only the script -- which was able to show how dismal urban life is without needing to sadden the audience -- but also the actors who performed naturally, without bias towards the theme of the play.
The play is about the loneliness one can feel in a "busy" urban environment, and how this loneliness is highlighted when one is with a group of people who are supposed to be friends.
We see a group of acquaintances and how they differ in their interactions with each other and the world around them, first getting ready for a party, then at the party, and finally after the party. The entire cast is on stage for almost the entire play, so when the characters are not together (before and after the party) only the shifting action determines who is center stage at a particular moment.
This is nice, because there is always something funny happening on stage, keeping the play moving at a lively pace, even if it is by one of the characters not in the spotlight. There was an occasional moment of frustration, however, when, as I was watching and listening to one character, the entire audience burst into laughter, apparently at something someone I was not paying attention to did. So, when you see this play, be sure to constantly rove your eyes about, so as to avoid missing entertaining tidbits.
The cast as a whole does an excellent job interacting with one another. At the party, where this is most essential, they seem to be genuinely responding to one another, not just reading their lines. Libby (Charlene Suwanabhand '93) plays the inexperienced and very nervous hostess of the party. And, although she does get this nervousness across to the audience, it is done in a rather heavy-handed fashion. Though the other characters reacted to her obvious nervousness, she was clearly acting much more nervous than she was supposed to. Overall, her performance smacked of inexperience classically manifesting itself in overacting a simple emotion.
Alice (Leelila Strogov '92) is an insecure, self-praising author, who is trying to put forth the image that she doesn't care about what others think. Strogov is convincing throughout the performance, as she heaps Alice's opinions onto the other characters. Michelle P. Perry '91 is exceptional as Boo, Alice's lesbian lover: The two play off each other continually throughout the play, with just the right amount of support for each other. They direct antagonizing comments against one another so that you really feel that they know and love each other, but still get on each other's nerves as most couples do on occasion.
Tom (Christopher Coon '91) perhaps best epitomizes what the play says about life as he tries to compose a song on his guitar and says, "I like this tune. . . . This happens, and that happens, and then something else happens . . . and it doesn't go anywhere. . . . I don't think I even want the words to rhyme." Tom is flanked by Emily (Kellie Wills '91) whose disposition remains a mystery for much of the play, until she suddenly gets the spotlight and bursts into song to tell her sad story. Griever (Michael Friedhoff G) is portrayed as the outsider to all this, trying to fit in, and eventually realizing he doesn't.
The play is also enjoyable because various interesting topics are talked about during the party scene. The characters discuss whether movies or written words convey ideas better, or why we all get depressed on Sunday nights. But my favorite idea was that of Norbert, who said, "Have you ever wondered if what you see as blue, other people see as blue?"
Blue Window had an overall professional touch to it -- even all the little things were done well. When Emily suddenly started to sing, the other actors froze, and the lights shifted off them and onto Emily in the same instant; ringing phones stopped ringing precisely when they were answered. Though these are seemingly minor successes, they add quite a bit to the overall impression the play has.