Last Friday night, I had the pleasure of watching the School of Drama's latest production, The Rover in the Philip Chosky Theater. The show worked beautifully as an interesting contrast of experimental interactive cinema with decidedly classical 17th century Italian themes.
The Rover depicts the struggles of young people finding true love in the 17th century. The plot is filled with drama and complicated relationships, and the cast of Carnegie Mellon drama students did a brilliant job portraying the rivalries of love, the sisterhood, the friendships, and the social relationships of this time period in Naples. Every character was well cast and the acting was without a doubt absolutely spectacular. Most interestingly, even the historic Italian accents were perfect.
The set looked like it was straight out of a dream. The boards and tinsels added a playful touch to the entire carnival theme. A production hand on The Rover admitted to working days and nights for the show, and sometimes having only 10 minutes breaks in between four hour long production sessions. He said that the pride he felt on seeing the finished product made all the work and exhaustion completely worthwhile.
Interactivity was an essential component of the performance. Instead of staying on the stage for the entire play, the actors actively tried to talk to the audience. From trying to praise a beautiful lady, to calling out a man and pretending he's part of the play, the actors made the play more interesting to watch. In addition, the actors made full use of the space and environment of the theatre, frequently moving off of the stage and walking around, encouraging the audience members to turn their heads. This built interest and made for an altogether more exciting experience.
If you haven't watched The Rover yet, and if you happen to be interested in 17th century Europe and romantic dramas, or intrigued by the idea of interactive theatre portraying classical themes, this fantastic show is definitely recommended. The show runs through Saturday, Dec. 3 and tickets can be purchased at the Chosky Theater or on the School of Drama's website.