“It’s telling stories…that brings us together in a community,” director Lelaina E. Vogel ’15 says about “Players,” a student-written drama that will premiere in the Adams Pool Theater on Nov. 14. The show follows Alex (Alex B. Zaloum ’16), a director, in his attempt to put on a show in a war torn city. To his dismay, his old friends have been separated on either side of the conflict. The play puts the power of theater to the test. “[It is about] the light…theater keeps shining in the darkness—its capacity to spread hope, to spread reconciliation in conflict zones, to humanize the other, to create a formidable community wherever it goes,” playwright Alice Abracen ’15 says.
The production within the show Alex hopes to put on is “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” a screenwriting decision with which Abracen was not immediately confident. However, as “Players” developed, the themes of each play—both “Players” and the Shakespeare production within it––become perfectly intertwined.
“Originally I was hoping not to do ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ because I had done it so many times that I just wanted to get it out of my life. But I wanted [the play in “Players”] to be a Shakespearean comedy…because I wanted it to breed laughter and closeness among the cast rather than have them dwell on the darkness that lies within them,” Abracen says. “‘Midsummer’ is great because, like a lot of Shakespearean comedies, here is something very dark at the core…and it’s a play about these young people that run somewhere for refuge outside the city. They’re seeking refuge outside the forest in this other world.”
References to the theater go beyond the characters’ production. The director character, Alex, is a huge Shakespeare buff and often brings the Bard into conversation. “Every chance he can, get he’s doing a Shakespeare reference…. [Alice] takes Shakespeare and puts it into the context of whatever is going on,” Zaloum says.
Originally written for her “Introduction to Playwriting” class, “Players” delves into darker material for Abracen. “It packs a huge punch,” Vogel says. “I don’t work on shows that don’t have an emotional punch to the gut, and this is the hardest punch I’ve ever given.”
The PlaygoerDuring the closing scene of Brattle Theatre's production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" three centaurs marched in with candelabras of
ASP's 'Midsummer' Anything But a DreamIn the second installment of a season based around ideas of change and transformation, the Actors’ Shakespeare Project undertakes one of the Bard’s great comedies to tragically underwhelming effect.
Gallery: Lowell House Opera
'Julius Caesar' A Giant Among Theater
'Players' Succeeds in Comedy, Struggles with DramaHarvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club's “Players” pokes fun at the life of the actor, a life that seems dramatically more foolish—perhaps even more self-servingly ridiculous—in the context of war. Playwright Alice Abracen’s ’15 script captured those comedic moments successfully with heart, while the play’s darker notes seemed confused, if not unnatural.