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April 16, 2024

Witness showcases a mix of laughter, tears

By JIN HA | October 6, 2016

Witness Theater, a Hopkins theater group that produces student-written plays, held its fall showcase last Friday through Sunday in Swirnow Theater. The showcase, produced by junior Renee Scavone, showed off five plays, entirely acted, directed and produced by Hopkins students. Each play was a smooth blend of creative bite and emotional energy, touching on topics both serious and light-hearted.

The showcase started with a comedy-drama “The Shortest of the Lacedaemonian Ambassadors,” featuring Edgar the overly arrogant but desperately insecure art student and his exasperated friends. Inspired by a friend who tells him, “Some of the best art comes from pain,” he uses his emotional baggage from an expired relationship to paint a masterpiece he refuses to reveal.

After a buildup of tense curiosity, he finally exposes it to his friends. It’s a dick pic, or specifically, a large painting of his small dick. The play was simultaneously hilarious and tasteful, a feat made impressive by the culminating joke and clever wordplay.

The second play “Kevin and Dick” was a shorter comedic piece that left the audience laughing again and again. The play revolved around two construction workers: Kevin, who is cursed with incredibly tiny hands, and Dick, who tries to persuade Kevin to quit his job. Kevin struggles to fit in with the other construction workers but his constant enthusiasm and pitiful naivety eventually compels Dick to be a good friend, teaching him the realities of life (including the truth about sex) over lunch.

“Little Miss Sure Shot” was a definite shocker, featuring a mix of sane and insane people. A deluded and socially impaired 7-year-old girl struggles to cope with a recent divorce and school bullying while her equally deluded father attempts to keep her away from her mother.

Two caretakers alone maintain the hold on the situation, but regardless of their desperation, the father’s constant obsession with winning back the love of his daughter leads him to entrust her with a real gun as a “prop” for her role in a school play. The play ends on a jarringly tragic note when the girl accidentally shoots herself while dancing with her father. The vivid depiction of both innocent longing and deranged possessiveness was an intense ride for all viewers and left a striking impression.

The struggles of a break-up have never been as heartbreaking or relatable as they were in the fourth play, The Time Before. Two women grapple with their conflicting emotions as one pushes to leave and the other fights to convince her to stay.

As they take turns unraveling the deep misunderstanding that separates them, they come to the realization that their relationship has already traveled beyond the point of no return. Mournful and human to the core, the play concludes with the couple irreparably separating.

Finally, The Kevorkian Dilemma brought the showcase to a thought-provoking end with its chilling and bitter conclusion.

Vince, a depressed man still recovering from a suicide attempt, grapples with the oppressive nature of his friends and family. Set in an ophthalmologist’s waiting room of a small town, Vince comes face to face with his sister, his best friend and an old family friend who are all unable to understand why Vince tried to commit suicide.

After they’ve each unloaded their frustration onto Vince, he dispels their misunderstanding with a tragic declaration of self-blame: “I should’ve never been resuscitated!” Convinced that he is an unforgivable burden to his sister, Vince chooses to leave in a gut-wrenching moment of regret that made all viewers reassess their own relationships.

Overall, the showcase demonstrated incredible range and talent, perhaps because of how well everyone worked together.

Freshman Max Jarcho commented on the warm environment.

“There’s a very strong connection between the directors, the writers and all the actors, because you’re all students and you’re all... going through a lot of the same things,” he said.

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