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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

A Show Far From Merry

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If you want a play with light humor, a pleasant love story or perfected musical numbers, this is not the show for you.

This is one of those shows you need to be in the mood for because with themes of suicide, rape, abuse and adultery, this show is far from merry. In fact, After Miss Julie is by no means traditional. Chosen by Bethany McHugh ’15 for her Comps project, the show is set in post-war Britain and follows the story of only three characters: the daughter of a lord and two of her servants.

In one of the most twisted love triangles I have ever witnessed, the chemistry between the three actors triumphed. Despite the dark undertones of the show, the cast was admittedly “close knit” and their trust in each other was apparent on stage. This allowed for the audience to be invigorated by every awkward and sometimes downright cruel moment.

While Nathan Bern ’17 and Mairead Koehler ’17 gave successful performances, the true standout was McHugh. Her perfect timing and ability to tackle an extremely difficult character was an important contribution to the overall production.

My criticism of the actors is very minimal. They had not settled into their British accents until about a quarter of the way through the show. On occasion, it was a bit difficult to understand their speech.

The director’s choices were as bold as the show itself. Co-directed by Jake Kramer ’15 and Sarah Meister ’16, the two tried wanted the play to be naturalistic. In other words, they wanted the play to show normal life and oftentimes mundane tasks in order to make the audience feel as if they had stepped into someone’s life on an average day. This idea played out well but occasionally let the play drag. The same idea could have been portrayed in much less time.

However, the constant shifts in blocking and creative positions kept the play varied despite the singular set and, frankly, repetitive dialogue. The set itself complimented the show perfectly. The kitchen set had a charming layout and an understated simplicity which, when contrasted with the heaviness of the show, only added to the production’s overall darkness.

The costumes were well done but not particularly varied which was acceptable because the show did not call for many changes. Most issues that I had with the show were the with the play itself. It’s beginning was exciting and intriguing, but the play quickly stopped progressing and got caught in a rut. There was not a lot of forward movement and two of the characters repeatedly fought over the same issue.

However, because of the excellent acting and directing, the hurdles the sometimes dull script presented were easily overcome to keep the show entertaining. The ways in which the show grappled with class warfare were poignant and interesting. The obvious metaphors that played out during the show were well crafted and thought provoking. Overall, the performance was shockingly well done and left the critic pondering life, love and human nature.

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