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Script Sinks ETB’s Orange Flower Water

Orange Flower Water opened last night in Little Nourse Theatre to a nearly full house, unusual for a Thursday night Experimental Theatre Board show. The play will continue to run this Friday and Saturday night at 8:00pm.

The opening of the play was prefaced by a flurry of rumors surrounding the presence of nudity in the production. Freshman Logan Ellwood and junior Lexi Norvet bravely performed a sexually intimate scene in which Norvet exposes her breasts while Ellwood passionately kisses them. Ellwood’s line delivery begged more sexual charge, although the two had convincing physically chemistry.

Director Veronica Garcia ’16 may have had a limited actor pool, with many stage veterans performing in or directing other ETB shows or the Player’s production Trestle at Pope Lick Creek. That the main characters of the play were supposed to be middle-aged married folk made it challenging, at times, for the younger actors to be convincing.

Theatre veteran Stu Lourey ’16 was the most persuasive of the group in his portrayal of man’s man soccer dad approaching a midlife crisis. His subtly effected voice— deeper and more booming than usual—kept the audience laughing when he acted as a pathetic father, and terrified when he flew into fits of rage as a hurt and cruel husband.

Garcia chose a challenging play packed with intensity and raw emotion that explores the vices of marriage, promiscuity and family. Despite intentions of delving into deeply real emotions, Flower Water is often painfully melodramatic.

The script is filled with line after clichéd line espousing the difficulties of life. The cheesiness of the dialogue forced the actors to throw their lines out there and let them whither and die. The script was confusing, and it left little room for actors to employ subtlety.

The actors were most successful in conveying their emotions when they weren’t speaking. In spite of a lacking script, the cast managed to create tension and find emotional depth in their actions. Lourey and Norvet were especially successful in their nonverbal communication during their heated bedroom arguments.

Freshman Francesca Caracci’s role as the unhinged Cathy Larson felt unrealistically awkward and crazed when she delivered her lines, but when she finally breaks down emotionally, her body language and interaction with Ellwood reveal the depths of her unhappiness.

Orange Flower Water
’s famously bare set consisting only of a double bed was a visual reminder of the intimacy of marriage and gave the show continuity. Although the cast should be applauded for their bravery in performing in a show that made them highly vulnerable, and Garcia should be recognized for her bold, highly experimental choice, the reviewer would recommend seeking entertainment elsewhere this weekend.

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