“Waiting for Lefty”- Catawba’s Unique Takecatawbapioneerstaff October 27, 2015 0 COMMENTS
One of the best things that Catawba has to offer to students and the surrounding community is our outstanding theatre arts program. Within this program, students have countless opportunities to work on various different plays and performances, whether on the stage or behind the scenes. One of the most recent productions on campus was “Waiting For Lefty,” a play directed by Catawba senior, Melissa Tarduno, and originally written by Clifford Odets. The play had showings scattered from October 21st to 26th.
The script originally takes place in 1935 surrounding a community of working class people embarking on a labor strike. Melissa Tarduno, however, wanted to take a modern and relatable spin on the story. “I didn’t really want to change the script. I wanted to show the audience, although this was written almost 80 years ago, we still face war, poverty, injustice, sexism, etc.” With innovative direction, the play took a story that could have seemed boring to younger generations and spun it into a comprehensive and engaging tale of action and angst. “The issues of sexual harassment, homophobia, and sexism are real in today’s society and are issues Odets slightly touched on in his original work. I just took it a step farther and I think it worked!” Director Melissa Tarduno further comments.
The story also featured an advanced stage setup. As the stage was “arena” style, or surrounded by audience seating on all sides, the actors faced the dilemma of arranging body positions where the audience members were not excluded from the action. An attendee would have been surprised to witness actors sitting with onlookers in the audience, and shocked upon the uproar of dialogue and participation around them. It promoted an immersive viewing experience.
Lastly, the most unique thing about the performance, however, was the “second act”. After the main story, where the characters’ back stories were portrayed, the actors invited the audience to participate in an exercise called “form theatre.” Onlookers and other attendees tagged in and took turns trying to gain improved comprehension on the motives behind the characters of the play. The improvisation was collaborative and entertaining, as both acting students and non-acting students got a chance to get on stage and play a role they did not prepare for, and fulfill some objectives.
“Waiting for Lefty” was an engaging and worthwhile experience that gave control to the audience, while keeping true to a classic script.