Twists, turns, and moral ambiguity
Homecoming weekend is full of fun activities for current students and alumni alike to enjoy. These activities, ranging from the football game and tailgating to performances and receptions, are meant to bring past and current Tartans together. One such event is Scotch ’n’ Soda’s show, The Visit.
Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s 1956 play is a darkly comedic tale of bribery and intrigue. The play takes place in a town hit by an economic depression. A wealthy former resident of the town, Claire, played by MCS first-year Justine Lassar, returns after a long absence. Claire has the means to save the town from economic collapse, but she gives the townspeople a condition to meet before she will relieve their financial worries: Someone must kill her former lover, Anton, played by first-year drama major Mike Christie.
In a series of twists and turns, the townspeople are forced to make the biggest decision of their lives: Should they kill Anton and relieve their financial worries, or should they choose to live their lives in despair, knowing that they were not responsible for a murder? The decision is not one that they make lightly, and the evolution of the characters’ sense of what is more important is played out through the show.
The show’s directors, computer science senior Daniel Dewey and SHS junior Jackie Bernard, think that the show will be a huge success, and are excited for the performances.
“Throughout the show, there are elements of comedy, tragedy, and surrealism. Realistic characters are thrust into an unusual situation,” Dewey said. This kind of realism in the characters is what they believe will draw in audiences.
“It’s easy to love all of the characters,” Bernard said, describing the benefits of having such realistic characters.
Part of what makes the characters so real is their hesitation in deciding whether to kill Anton. The townspeople have two conflicting desires, and with less successful characterization, the characters might make their choice without reflecting the conflict a real person would feel. For a real person, it would be hard to turn down billions of dollars in exchange for one life, no matter how immoral the act might seem to be, and these characters are no different. They do not, however, rush into killing him, either. They behave as humans, not just as characters in a play.
The success of this particular performance is largely dependent upon those involved, including both the cast and crew. This is the most technically challenging non-musical show that the organization has done in years, and the technical crew proved to be up to that challenge. The cast, which is made up largely of first-years, is also strong, and the directors feel that each person brought a lot to the show.
“There’s been a lot that people have thought of that we wouldn’t have,” Dewey said. “Each of [them] has brought something unique and personal.”