Scenefest; Elsewhere Review

It’s that time of the year again (no, not midterms): performance season!! Whether it be an a capella concert or an S’n'S show, we’re coming up on the season of drama. Most recently, Scotch'n'Soda’s subtroupe New Works Coffeehouse put on a student written and performed show called “Scenefest: Elsewhere.” The stories were individually written and directed, though there was an overarching theme: the word “elsewhere,” which could be interpreted any way. Some of the scenes took place outside of time, others in vastly different planes of existence and the far off places that are the past and the future. The show was well put together, and the performance was a success!! It had a full house, which the club members were very excited about. The scenes were very well performed, and the lighting and minimal set design were great as well. The entire show took the audience with them: elsewhere, far from here.

The show opened with a preface by Esha Gupta and Katarina Garcia, detailing to the audience what the show’s about and thanking all involved. Then the show begins.
It starts out fluctuating between lighthearted scenes and darker ones. "Emergenscene" (written and directed by Farid Khuri-Makdisi) and "Ramen and Mashed Potatoes" (by Arrim Jung, directed by Farid Khuri-Makdisi) were fun stories about an outside force looking into their story. "Emergenscene" takes this quite literally, in which the writer is figuring out how to write their characters. "Ramen and Mashed Potatoes," however, involves fate, time travel, and loud dorm neighbors.

In between these scenes, "Aliya" (by Anoushka Sengupta, directed by Esha Gupta) sends our story’s protagonist from a mission in space back home, feeling betrayed by a friend who just wanted to save her. "Sincerely, With All My Love" (by Kate Hanson, directed by Victoria Yuan) sifts through unsent letters and messages to past lovers/friends, finding closure along the way as they pass each other by.

"Death Cab" (by Avi Wong, directed by Katarina Garcia) shows us that in stories, fate always finds a way, even in the afterlife. "Yours" (by Esha Gupta, directed by Victoria Yuan) takes us to the cemetery, where estranged brothers find their own closure after a loss. "Carousel" (by Elizabeth Lathan, directed by Luke Frisoli) puts two friends against each other when a magic carousel and their opposing views on growing up conflict.

"House of Mirrors" (written and directed by Katarina Garcia) follows the tale of a power hungry queen in her downfall to villainy.

"Finally, Evidence" (by Cynthia Xu, directed by Esha Gupta) marks the show’s end, where two loved ones find a way to let each other know they’re still in love from across the grave.

The show was an hour-and-a-half, and the writers, directors, and actors all did an amazing job of bringing these new stories to life. This is just one of New Works’ Scenefests — it usually happens once a semester or once a year, so be on the lookout! New Works is also putting together a staged reading — similar to Scenefest, but the actors will read the plays rather than perform them with blocking and props onstage. The show date is April 8th, so if you’re curious to see what else the writers have in store, stay tuned for more information on that!