In June, the Supreme Court struck down decades of precedent by gutting affirmative action programs at colleges and universities throughout the country. With college admissions becoming increasingly competitive, the recent ruling only increases the anxiety thousands of students feel as they curate the perfect application to gain one of the few coveted spots at the college or university of their choice. This world of paranoia and scarcity where identity is carefully crafted and weaponized sets the stage for Jiehae Park’s Peerless. Adapted from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Peerless conveys the perils of Asian-American twins M and L’s unchecked ambition as they mercilessly manipulate and murder their classmates for the chance to attend “The College.” Although an overwhelmingly dark piece filled with toil and trouble, Angel Katthi’s ʼ24 senior thesis production of Peerless proved to be a poignant and surprisingly humorous rendition of this relevant play.
Held in the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts’ Black Box Theatre on September 28, 29 and 30, Peerless featured an intimate cast of five phenomenal actors led by Noёlle Romero ʼ24 as the ambitious yet sympathetic M and Katherine Lynn-Rose ʼ25 as her conniving twin sister L. Even from the first moments of the show, the two actresses impressively tackled Park’s fast-paced, short staccato lines as they used the energetic language to enliven the obsessive and threatened world they inhabit. Throughout the production, Romero ʼ24 and Lynn- ʼ25 maintained the intensity of their performances, playing off of each other skillfully to create an interchangeable power dynamic in which the audience could never fully tell who was in control until the play’s shocking end.
Juxtaposing M and L’s unrelenting nature, D, played by the hilarious Oscar Llodra ʼ25, captured the geeky charm of a classmate who uses his 1/16th Native American heritage to claim M’s spot at “The College.” While many actors default to playing D as a stereotypical, annoying nerd, Llodra ʼ25 breathed life into his character, leading M to feel guilty about killing him for his admissions spot and creating an opportunity for Llodra to convincingly transform into D’s Brother who seeks revenge later in the play.