BRITTANY GARRETT | Staff Reporter
Am I living to my full potential? Will I regret this life when I’m in the afterlife? Is there even an afterlife?
All these questions pervaded the play “Terminal,” beautifully conceived by Susan Yankowitz.
With the audience watching from both sides of the stage, the production portrayed different stages of life and death by sectioning off the one-act play into a few various scenes, each focusing on a different facet.
The play uses palimpsests—pieces of parchment written over numerous times without fully erasing what was written before—as a means to consider questions about death. This is expressed most thoroughly in Wendy Meaden’s costume design. Performers wore variants of white and nude and were barefoot, representing the purity of death.
These different “stages” of life and death were sometimes portrayed as comical, and sometimes as moving.
One stage in particular, “Last Biological Rights,” was extremely poignant.
As a man ran back and forth across the stage, experiencing the process of feeling his senses one final time, viewers were forced to sympathize with him because of his emotional portrayal of losing sight, then voice, then motion.
Lighting also plays a huge part in this individual section, as well as the entire performance. Flowing from bright overheads to intense contrasts, the different moods were definitely highlighted through these visuals. The use of very minimal props added to the dramatized raw aspects of the play.
Another flawless aspect was the singing. Focused with spotlights, soloists belt without the assistance of instrumentalists. Some were joined with overlapping entrances of other singers, adding texture and a sense of auditory anxiety to their performances.
Somehow, with such deep concepts throughout, sprinkles of humor managed to fit in.
Adding this idea of comedy to the situations just made them more ironic and abstract, positively intensifying the influence of deeper consideration.
Although the ensemble worked its specific parts well, the actors were not overwhelmingly coherent together as a whole. The piece, written with such emotion and intensity, would be hard to cast perfectly.
The physical variety between first-year students and the upperclassmen worked aesthetically to convey the various stages of life.
The play didn’t try to tell the audience what actually happens after death, instead, the production looks at how one lives life and implies a focus not on meaning, but experiencing. There was an aspect of darkness and morbidity portrayed in the play. Although it wasn’t very intense, the performance leaves the viewer with quite a few questions to ponder. “Terminal” is definitely a theatrical experience everyone should try.
“Terminal” runs February 27 to March 1 at 8 p.m. and March 1-2 at 2 p.m. on the Lilly Hall mainstage.