The Totalitarians: A Review

By Grace Mastroianni

FFF! FFF! FFF!

Freedom From Fear!

Bridgewater State University’s virtual production of The Totalitarians by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb was both entertaining and well-rehearsed! Not only did it further showcase the theatrical talents of my fellow Bears, but the determination of the school’s theater department in these trying times. 

While I was originally very apprehensive of the idea of virtual live theater due to an aversion of all things technological, I am willing to be the first to admit that the virtual performances are actually pretty amazing. Now, nothing will ever be able to replace my love of live theater, but being able to watch a performance cuddled up in bed with a massive bowl of kettle corn does have its own unique merit.

The show begins with a shakily recorded video message by a man in a mask, who is warning the populace that they cannot trust politician Penelope Easter. From there on out, the lives of the characters begin to spiral away from them. Secret underground revolutions, corrupt politicians, and propaganda oh my! 

The actors were both witty and talented, and did a brilliant job of bringing their characters to life. Consisting of four actors, this small cast was able to bring us Bears the political calamity being experienced by the good people of Nebraska. 

Politician Penelope Easter (played by Erin O’Donnell) and her campaign manager Francine (played by Britney Mallebranche) manage to whip the voters into a frenzy, turning Penelope Easter into the most wanted commodity in Nebraska. With the assistance of some (rather odd) creative political ads, we are able to see Penelope’s unorthodox political style! 

Elsewhere Dr. Jeffrey Jefferson, (played by Colin Lamusta) Francine’s husband, is being pulled into a revolutionary conspiracy by Ben, (played by Dakota Lopes) his current patient who he may or may not be keeping a cancerous secret from. Amongst all of this chaos, Francine and Jeffrey are experiencing some pretty piercing marital issues.

Despite having to perform on a tricky platform, the students were able to put on a brilliant performance. During my viewing of the show there were only a few technical issues, but as with all performances, issues will always arise. While the actors were performing in front of a pre-programmed scenery, the backgrounds would occasionally glitch out and reveal where the actor was acting from. There were also some issues with actors being unable to hear each other due to connectivity issues and missing a few lines.

However the actors were able to get pretty creative when it came to reaching across screens! During a scene in which one of the actors attempts to strangle another, tiny plastic hands appear where the actor’s hands would! It was pretty humorous and a great way to make up for the lack of contact created by virtual performances.

All in all, it was a great show! The actors were the right amount of humorous and serious when need be, and they handled the virtual platform extremely well. I for one, am very much looking forward to any future BSU productions, both on-screen and off!

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