Senior theater major Becca Muszynski’s senior project, devised-theater play “Split Second,” which ran last weekend, has simultaneously raised the bar for future theater students and attested to the strength of the theater program.
Muszynski’s piece was a solid introduction to devised theater, or improvisation for non-theater majors. The piece had structure and a theme, but the words and attitudes of the actors were different with every performance.
The end result was not seamless, but it was very well crafted. The show contained subtleties and ambiguity while also remaining very accessible and easy to follow.
The cast overall related superbly to one another, and the choreography was very impressive, especially a duet featuring Medley and Moore.
“Split Second” moved the audience.
Stephanie Pan, a freshman digital media production major, said that the show made her cry.
Pan said she was most impressed by the dancing but was disappointed by the ending, which she said “didn’t really finish [the story].”
The cast was comprised of sophomores Logan Moore and Megan Medley and juniors Lauren Albert and Shane Tarplee. Sophomore Madeline Carey was the stage manager.
Muszynski, who directed the show, said the first weeks of rehearsals consisted mostly of the actors improvising on the theme
The actors experimented with different relationship scenarios and improvised choreography.
Muszynski now refers to these first few rehearsals jokingly as group therapy, as the actors brought their own personal relationship experiences to bear on their characters. One scene evokes the devastating aftermath of an affair.
In the end, Muszynski said she felt the actors had the best chemistry when they improvised being siblings.
The show evolved through the feeling each actor brought to their role.
After some polishing and weeks of more structured rehearsal, the show was ready.
“[The show] started as a vague idea, and came down to this,” Muszynski said.
Indeed, the rushed ending, a few awkward transitions and a disappointingly lifeless recording of the sibling’s parents having a fight were manifestations of a general immaturity that permeated the play under the surface.
This immaturity was not a result of a lack of seriousness on the part of the cast and crew but rather a result of their youth.
After all, the cast had to draw upon only 20 or so years of relationship experiences for their very complex characters.
Muszynski and all who worked on this production have every right to be pleased with the outcome. The play was well performed and well received.
This production was a pleasure to attend for the audience and also foreshadowed great success for its director.