Feb. 10-12, 7:30 p.m., Feb. 16-18, 7:30 p.m.
Directed by Sarah M.
Produced by Ryan M. Rossner ’13, Rose C. Bailey ’14
A dastardly murder, a dead bodies, and a splendid dinner party all come together in Patrick Hamilton’s “Rope,” the first show of the Harvard Radcliffe Dramatic Club’s spring season. Hamilton’s psychological thriller, which was turned into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock in 1948, will be at the Loeb Experimental Theatre starting this week.
“Rope” follows two college students, Brandon (Nathan O. Hilgartner ’14) and Granillo (Eduardo J. Perez-Torres ’12.) as they attempt to prove their superiority over the rest of humanity by committing the perfect crime. They murder a fellow student, hide him in a chest, and then throw a dinner party with their makeshift coffin as the centerpiece. “It’s a twist on the classic whodunit,” says director Sarah M. Batista-Pereira ’13. “The audience knows who the murderers are, and they watch as one of the party guests slowly puts the pieces together.”
The two lead actors strive to unearth the real psychology of these intellectual sociopaths. “It’s been fun, and a little scary, to explore a character who has absolutely no moral understanding of his actions,” says Hilgartner. “The action is entirely continuous, so the tension just builds and builds until it’s ready to snap.”
The production uses lighting as opposed to a complicated set to add to the show’s phychological drama. In order to heighten this sense of inescapable peril, lighting designer Hannah R. Phillips ’15 creates ways to isolate the main characters from the rest of the action during their tyrannical power trip. “We are using floor lights to create the illusion of a fireplace,” she says, “and at some points during the show this is the only source of light.” It is tricks like these that allow the set, which is only comprised of one room, to evole with the action on stage
Batista-Pereira adds that the essential aim of the play is to use tension to entertain her audience. “I want people to come ready to have a good time,” she says. “The play is hugely relevant to a Harvard audience. It’s about us—about students—and the responsibilities we have as intelligent human beings.”
—Staff writer Joshua R. McTaggart can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.