Student monologues hit 'Sco
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Student monologues hit 'Sco

by Lauren Viera

There's something amazing going on at the 'Sco this weekend, brought to you by OSTA. Two one act plays, The Moonshot Tape and A Poster of the Cosmos, both by Lanford Wilson, are re-opening. Each one-act is carried by a single performer, delivering a lengthy monologue of feverish intensity that should not be missed.

Abby Scott, college junior, begins the performance with her rendering ofThe Moonshot Tape Scott's character, Diane, is a successful writer returning to her hometown to help her mother move into a nursing home. We come to know Diane as she answers questions posed by an unseen interviewer, whose presence is revealed only by an ever-present tape recorder. As Diane reads the mundane questions of the interviewer, turning them over and over again, her answers give way to her own gripping story.

A Poster of the Cosmos follows, performed by college junior Corey Stoll. The stage is practically naked during this play, bearing only a table and chair and a pack of cigarettes. Stoll sits facing the audience, a beam of light directly overhead illuminating the scene harshly. Stoll plays a man delivering a statement at a police interrogation. The reason for his arrest is not clear at first, but gradually becomes known as the character tells his story to the phantom cops.

The performances by Scott and Stoll are outstanding. Both actors have penetrated their characters completely and render them fully on stage. Scott's Diane is seething with anger and punctuated by brilliant sarcasm. Scott, obviously very well connected with her character, brings the story to an overwhelming emotional crescendo that is absolutely devastating.

Stoll is equally powerful in his role. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of his performance is its overall kinetic energy. Even though he is confined to a chair for the entire act, Stoll's gestures are so potent they become a monologue in their own right. His possession of the character is extremely strong, believable and most of all consistent.

Stoll and Scott have worked hard to achieve this intensity. "I warm up a lot," said Stoll, adding that sometimes the warm-up lasts longer than the actual piece. Both students also did research into their characters. It would seem though, that the most important factor in the power of this performance is the actors' reactions to the plays themselves.

The plays are well fitted to the aptitudes of both Scott and Stoll, although still challenging, and this synchronicity between text and performer allows the pieces to practically carry themselves. Stoll and Scott worked very hard on giving life not only to their characters, but the characters within their monologues that we hear about, but never see.

Both are impressed by the commonality between the plays - the strong theme of relationships between people and the universality of those interactions. "Both of these people are taking control of their destinies," said Scott. "It is a retaliation against fate." Stoll said that in spite of the harsh and difficult subject matter of the two plays, they both possess, in the end, "a strong optimistic feel, in a tragic sense." It is the ability of Scott and Stoll to release this optimism within such a dark dramatic landscape that is the true success of their performance. The Moonshot Tape and A Poster of the Cosmos will go up in Wilder Disco Fri. at 7:30 p.m.; Sat. at 2:00 & 7:30; and Sun. at 7:30 p.m.


Copyright © 1997, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 125, Number 25, May 23, 1997

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