Hunter alumnus presents her latest theatre productionA Shorebound Swim with a One Click Kick: A Tragedy of Reason
Hunter alumnus presents her latest theatre production
College seniors have a lot on their minds. From filling out graduation paperwork and completing senior theses, there are a lot of things to keep in mind. The scariest, however, is the simple question of “what’s next?” That question strikes fear in the hearts of seniors even more so now in the current recession than ever before, and doubly so in those who wish to go into the arts. However, at least one Hunter College graduate can say that she’s managed to beat the odds and do what she loves in theatre.
Terra Vetter, class of 2007, graduated Hunter as a theatre major. Not too long afterwards, she wound up as a producer for The Lucky Artist, a theatre company here in New York, and is also a playwright for certain shows put on by her company. The Lucky Artist puts on roughly two shows a year. Vetter says that she prefers to have fewer shows and stretch out the auditions, perfecting the shows themselves rather than the normal theatre methods of rushing and squeezing auditions into a few weeks.
Her company’s latest play, “The Shorebound Swim with a One Click Kick: A Tragedy of Reason” was recently performed in the East Village. The show was interesting, but there were a few caveats.
From the beginning, it’s obvious that the show was done on a shoestring budget. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as sometimes having to work within budget constraints can force creators to stretch their creativity in ways that they wouldn’t have had to if they had more money. That was in effect here, and the audience having to use their imagination at times added an interesting touch to the play. The minimalist set was somewhat surprising in the beginning, but by the end felt extremely natural.
The story is as simple as the production values. An eccentric writer’s assistant named Edith Braunen (Robin Madel) is in love with her boss, Nicholas Krausen (William Kozy), while her assistant, fifteen-year old Victor Bribring (Nicko Libowitz) lusts after her. Krausen, however is still in love with his ex-girlfriend Natalie Hofff (Emma Worth.) The show goes through many unexpected twists as the various characters do what they believe it takes to make their love interests fall in love with them.
Due to the minimalist production values and story of this show, the main draw is the character development. There being only four characters, one of which is in only one scene, the show really had the opportunity to make its characters interesting. On that note, it succeeded. The main characters were all well developed and the audience really cared for them by the time everything was said and done. While the characters are very eccentric, the story of unrequited love that tortures each one of them is universal and allows the audience to see into the thoughts of a sadomasochistic writer.
The minimalist set consisted of a chair, a table and a strange electrocution device. These three props simply served as three locations during the play, but the actors did not leave when the scene shift from one place to another; instead, the actors stayed on stage, in character for the entire time that the play was underway. This seemed a bit odd at the beginning and it wasn’t until this concept dawned on the audience, that following the play became a far more manageable task.
This aspect quickly became one of the highlights of the show. The virtue of seeing the actors going about their business and staying in character even when an audience member walked through their performance space (because the theatre space was so small) is a testament to their acting ability.
This play, while enjoyable, suffers from with one huge problem: the pacing. Writers generally try to hook the audience within the first ten minutes of a work of fiction with something that glues them to it for its entire duration. This is why, for example, most action movies open with a gunfight or a car chase. In first ten minutes of “Shorebound Swim,” we watched three people basically sit around, without any knowledge of who they were or what was going on. The problems continued with long soliloquies that wore out their welcome long before they were over. This is unfortunate, because it was a compelling, well written and well acted play — but stretched into a length twice as long as it should have been.
Problems aside, “Shorebound Swim” was well produced, and Vetter’s talent for theatre production is displayed. It would have been an amazing show, if only the writing were a bit tighter. Vetter’s Company, The Lucky Artist Theatre Co., puts out a few shows a year and it will be interesting to see more. If this team can grow as artists, acknowledging and correcting the flaws of their work, there will be no reason why they can’t become a force to be reckoned with in the world of Off-Broadway Theatre, and Vetter will continue to make Hunter College proud with her continued accomplishments.