Festival 24’s fourth Zoom performance during the pandemic looked a bit different, but it was no less entertaining. Festival 24 is part of the Performing and Media Arts Department’s semester tradition, written, directed and performed virtually this semester and last. Students have just 24 hours to write and produce a play.
Originally a play written by Eve Ensler, the 21st annual production of The Vagina Monologues at Cornell featured 24 cast members in 19 scenes, filling Bailey Hall on Saturday night with laughter, shouting and occasionally silence.
After what was by all accounts a frenzied, sleep-deprived and caffeine-fueled period of preparation, participants of Saturday’s Festival 24 pulled off four plays and one dance routine — from creation to presentation — in just 24 hours.
Company (written by Stephen Sondheim and George Furth; director, Catherine Weidner; musical director, Christopher Zemliauskas) as a play itself doesn’t have a particularly dramatic plot the way a Greek tragedy or a Shakespearian comedy might — set up as a series of vignettes, the play focuses on exploring the topic of marriage through the eyes of Robert (Liam Snead), or “Bob/Bobby” as his friends affectionately call him, a 35-year-old man who just can’t seem to get married. Despite that Robert is well-liked, attractive and well-established, Robert’s friends are disheartened that is he still isn’t married by the time of his 35th birthday; on the other hand, he mostly works hard to deny that he is completely terrified of committing. In looking at the very different personalities and marriages of Robert’s friends, Company seeks to explore how marriage changes and affects people. In the eyes of ever-unmarried Robert, the premise leads to a fun look at the dynamics of a group which Robert is always third-wheeling his married friends. While the vignette set-up of the play itself might make some find the story stale or less dynamic, Ithaca College Theatre Arts’ Company does an excellent job in creating a colorful and engaging story through an incredibly distinctive cast.
Arts & Entertainment writers Emily Kling and Jesse Weissman discuss Ithaca College Theatre Arts’ production of Tom Stoppard’s 1993 play Arcadia. Arcadia played at Ithaca College’s Hoerner Theatre from April 26 to May 1 and was directed by Ithaca College professor Greg Bostwick. Jesse Weissman: Before we start discussing the play itself, I want to note just how nice the Main Stage Theatre at Ithaca College is! It is a pretty impressive venue and feels like a real Broadway theatre. Emily Kling: Agreed!
On Saturday, April 23 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Ithaca Ballet presented the spring installment of their 2015-2016 performance series at The State Theatre. The show began with The Firebird and after intermission were two shorter pieces titled “Boyceball” and “Bolero.” The combination of a longer, story ballet and contemporary choreography made for a versatile production with something for everyone. The Firebird is a ballet remarkable for its music, composed by the legendary Igor Stravinsky. The score is mystical, dramatic at the right times, and often erratic — fitting, as the ballet is about a magical bird. The plot of the ballet is tweaked depending on which company is performing it, but Ithaca Ballet’s version stays true to original versions, for the most part.
At five o’clock sharp on the evening of April 13, the doors to the Klarman Auditorium opened, and the crowd that had amassed just outside funneled into the dimly lit seats. The first few rows filled in seconds. The stage was warmly lit, bare except for a piano and eight chairs. The crowd buzzed with hushed, excited conversation, eagerly awaiting the concert reading of the most recent play from Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Cornell alum Paula Vogel, directed by Meghan Brodie, Ph.D. ’10. Vogel first came to Cornell as a graduate student in 1974; throughout her years at Cornell, she wrote plays and taught classes in drama and playwriting, earning her Master of Arts in 1976 and working toward a doctorate degree.