KATHERINE SHELTON | STAFF REPORTER
“The Story of Us” features a series of Tamara Bodnar’s original musical-styled songs that paint specific moments in fictional college students’ lives.
Themes included moving day, creating relationships, going to a job fair, struggling with faith, studying abroad, and managing self-doubt.
The show was performed in Lilly Hall Jan. 6 and Jan. 7, Friday and Saturday evening.
All around, the performance was impressive, although some performers were certainly stronger than others.
The music should have been played softer, or, better yet, the actors should have projected their voices to make sure the audience could hear.
The blocking was occasionally forced and awkward. Performers often looked around at one another or the floor during musical interludes within the piece. Sometimes it seemed that the show could not decide if it was a concert, displaying the songs, or if it were a musical with a story.
This in-between was occasionally interesting, yet it did make for disconnect and unconvincing movement that felt unmotivated.
Lighting designer Corbin Fritz kept the lights abstract for a purpose: as the audience, we are essentially dipping into the minds of random students and hearing their inner dialogues. The blocks of lights doing their typical representation (such as blue for sad emotions, red for fiery ones), helped the audience suspend their disbelief and buy into the world Bodnar envisioned.
Costume Designer Brendan Daly depicted the cast in realistic clothing. Level of formality in clothing depended on where the students were theoretically pouring their hearts. Again, the costumes were sufficiently believable—unique, but connected through color scheme.
The music performed by Sandy An, Emily Farrer, and Bodnar herself was appealing. Everything seemed on point, with only one slip up that I could catch.
The writing was typically witty, and only bounced in the dangerous direction of cliche once. Even then, it was during the “Moving Day” song, so I imagine it was that way intentionally. I think it is that moment in our lives that we hear the whole “reach for the stars” most often.
Humor is often present in the songs, but all of them display a moment of psychological importance. There is an intriguing depth to the piece.
Overall, I would have encouraged anyone to see this production. It is a sampling of strong talent.
If taken to a larger scale, cleaned up a bit, perhaps workshopped, it might become a great work.