Arts & Entertainment

Lights, Camera, Action at DSU

DSU students add their own flair to a comedy classic

By Tanashie Jacquecin

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On Thursday, March 22, 2018, I was fortunate enough to attend Delaware State University’s College of Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences presentation of Arsenic and Old Lace. This play was written by American playwriter, Joseph Kesselring, in 1939, which was later adapted into a 1944 film. It’s a show I will remember for awhile.

Bright lights and still figures were the first things I saw on stage when I entered the DSU EH Theater. It took me awhile to figure out that these three figures were students. Imagine my surprise that these students were able to hold their still position for over ten minutes, just until the play started. That took dedication.

 

The play was a black comedy focusing around the Brewster family, a family of insane homicidal maniacs. The main character, Mortimer Brewster, is a drama critic who must deal with his crazy, homicidal family in Brooklyn, New York, as well as whether to go through with his  promise to marry the woman he loves. The family includes two spinster aunts who have taken to murdering lonely old men by poisoning them with a glass of home-made wine laced with arsenic. An older brother who believes he is Theodore Roosevelt and digs locks for the Panama Canal in the basement of the family home. Which also acts as a cemetery for the dead old men. A criminal brother who got plastic surgery performed by his accomplice, Dr. Einstein, and now looks like the Frankenstein monster.

The Cast

  • Abby Brewster……………………………………………Emily Clark

  • The Rev Dr. Harper ……………………………………Nathan Jones

  • Teddy Brewster…………………………………………..Nicolas Poole

  • Officer Brophy……………………………………………Levi Anderson

  • Officer Klein………………………………………………Bianca Leconte

  • Martha Brewster………………………………………….Amira Davis

  • Elaine Harper………………………………………………Zaire Davis

  • Mortimer Brewster……………………………………….Caleb Jordan

  • Gibbs……………………………………………………Valentina Hernandez

  • Johnathan Brewster……………………………………..Carl Lee

  • Einstein…………………………………………………David Feliciano

  • Detective O’Hara…………………………………………Andrew Pomerleau

  • Lieutenant Rooney……………………………………….Andrian Hospedale

  • Witherspoon………………………………………….Janayda Spencer-Whitfield

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The Cast

The Characters Come to Life

A smile was brought to my face as soon as the actors came on stage. The actors stayed in character, even when they didn’t have lines. The gestures and their facial expressions spoke for them. The characters jumped off the page and came alive within the strict parameters of the stage. There was a vibrant feel of energy and excitement that the actors were able to portray through the characters. I was pleasantly surprised, especially considering that the source material is a play from the 1930s. The story, the music, the comedy – all came together to make an awesome play.

                                     The cast in action

What Made This Play

  • Teddy playing his trombone at random times. It was both surprising and funny.
  • The play being in one room, they were able to do so much with so little.
  • The lively actors, who seem to give these old dusty characters new life.

The Audience’s Reaction

I was not the only one laughing that night. When asked around, the play got some great feedback. “The play was actually pretty good,” one student had to say. “I thought it was actually more hilarious and I was not expecting it to be what it was,” she concluded.

” I could not stop laughing,” another viewer had to say.

The Actors’ Words

Amria Davis, the actress who plays Martha said they have been preparing for that performance for seven weeks. When asked what gets her into character, she said, “I guess my custom gets me into character because it is hard being an old lady because I am so youthful and tiny.”

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Amria Davis

Zarie Davis, the actress who plays Elaine, said that her favorite part about being in the play was, “Just hanging out with the cast. We have so much fun and I feel like everyone is different. Different organizations and different grades and everything, but we just all blended together and because we were with each other so much, we became comfortable and got used to each other, and you know, we made a lot of laughs. My favorite part was super Saturday, because we just bought pizzas and worked on the set and bonded. I am going to miss working on the set every day.”

Believe it or not, this was her first play, and I can honestly say she “killed” it.

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Zarie Davis

David Feliciano, who played Dr. Einstein, said that they chose this play because “We wanted to do a comedy, and I don’t know if you noticed, but the set never changed, so we wanted to keep the same set. So, we had to find a story that had the same set. We wanted to do something that everybody, the family, and friends from DSU could relate to.” And relate they did because we all have a family member who’s sanity we question.

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David Feliciano

Joseph Kesselring’s Arsenic and Old Lace is one of the funniest plays that DSU students have performed. With a hilarious script and skillful direction, these DSU students entertained the crowd with a witty production that provided lots of laughs.

If you want to learn about upcoming plays, stay posted at Delaware State University website at, https://www.desu.edu/events

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