Arts, On Campus, Arts Festival 2022

Theatre Groups Accentuate Dialogue and Emotional Resonance in Raw Performances

Trading in stage lights for sunlight and elaborate backdrops for Carney Hall, Boston College  Contemporary Theatre and the BC Dramatics Society put on theatrical productions on Stokes Lawn to display their talents during the 24th Annual Arts Festival. 

BC Contemporary Theatre kicked off the event on Saturday by introducing its new members, who performed readings of two 15-minute, self-written plays in an event titled New Plays, New Ducklings.

Before each reading, the writer set the scene, giving descriptions of the characters and the setting. This allowed audience members to form a picture in their minds of the scripts the actors brought to life for them. The actors wore their regular clothes for the performance, giving the show a more intimate and laid-back feel. 

The first play from New Plays, New Ducklings was “Ink” by Olivia Emerick, MCAS ’25. Arianne Horan, MCAS ’25, performed the reading for her character Anna, who wanted to cover up the star tattoo she recently got at a tattoo parlor. Nell Lorimer, MCAS ’25, played June, the tattoo artist. 

Emerick’s play addressed themes of regret and loss, as Anna feels that the star tattoo she got in honor of her sister did not properly serve as a symbol of her sister’s life. While June helps Anna determine how to best grieve the loss of her sister, she reveals her own family problems that stem from her parent’s favoritism of her brother, putting a strain on their relationships.

After the final, emotional scenes of “Ink,” Daniel Strickland, MCAS ’25, premiered his comedy titled “Clerical Error.” The play starred Zachary Kariotis, MCAS ’25, as Father Eli and Emerick as Jessica, a girl possessed by a medieval peasant. Alexis Elcan, MCAS ’25, starred as Jessica’s mom, Jennifer.

When setting the scene, Strickland specified that in Jessica’s room, the words “Lord Farley Hath Laid With Swine,” were scrawled on a wall, setting up the play to be a comedy from the beginning. 

In “Clerical Error,” Jessica and Jennifer call Father Eli to rid Jessica of the demon that is ruining her social life. The only catch is Father Eli does not know how to perform an exorcism. 

Strickland successfully captured the audience with comedic dialogue at every turn in this short play. Toward the end of the play, Father Eli even made a joke about it being impossible to remember whether Jessica or Jennifer was possessed because their names are so similar. 

The actors in both plays proved they did not need elaborate productions to put on engaging shows. The lack of elaborate production, along with the outdoor location, provided a venue for them to let their line delivery shine. 

After these two performances, while children played on Stokes Lawn, the Dramatics Society performed the first part of its play The Other Place, which it staged in the Bonn Studio Theater in April.

The actors in The Other Place similarly wore everyday attire for their abbreviated production. Their line delivery and stage presence was just as passionate and natural as it was in the Bonn.

As the actors took their final bow, the audience stood and clapped, giving the actors their well-deserved acclaim one last time.  

May 1, 2022