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Drake University Theater presented “The Bald Soprano”

Photo Courtesy of Morgan Erwin

The Bald Soprano was a production put on by the Drake University Theater Department, described as a show that left the audience confused, humored and pondering. 

The Bald Soprano is a play falling into the category of absurd theater. While there is no one meaning for this piece, leaving it up to audience interpretation, it is believed that the play is meant to represent the futility of meaningful communication. At one point, all the characters talk over each other as if they are attempting to be the main character.

Sophomore Riley Jouppi agreed that it was an interesting, strange show.

“It was one of the weirdest shows I’ve ever seen, but that’s what honestly made it really enjoyable,” Jouppi said.

She compared part of the show to an improv game that requires performers to incorporate random phrases into the scene. As characters are sharing dinner party anecdotes near the end of the play, the stories progress in levels of absurdity.

Lobben said the unique content and format of the production made it really fun to perform the show.

“We had to really stretch our brains to make our characters into people,” she said.

The rehearsal process was quick for a production put on in the fifth week of the academic calendar. Lobben said the whole show was blocked in one rehearsal, and the cast spent the rest of their time dissecting the play’s content.

At the show, audiences were laughing from the beginning to the end and on the edge of their seats, waiting for what bizarre thing would be said next.

Facial expressions used by the cast, especially senior Miles Fritz, only added to the fun. Seniors Seamus Foley and Cat Farrell shone with their comedic timing and ability to change emotions so quickly as Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Fritz and Lobben, scene partners with a pre-show dance routine, played the Martins. They excelled at bringing new meaning to a scene with repetitive dialogue as they left the audience in stitches.

Cast members who had less stage time still managed to make the most of their appearances. Junior Emma Fishman, in the role of Mary the maid, performed both her mini-monologues as a seasoned professional.

Senior Jackson Buchmeyer’s character, The Fire Chief, was fashionably late to the scene but made his presence known with impressive speed on his line delivery and memorable positivity.

Based on the audience’s reaction, the biggest hit of the night was the physicality of the characters. Repeated, small actions were cause for giggles as the absurdity of the plot only heightened.

In addition to the performances on stage, contributions from the technical elements enhanced the show. Crazy-colored costumes hinted at the craziness that was to come, and fast-paced lighting changes near the end of the play unsettled audience members as the dialogue peaked in its gibberish.

“It was so bizarre, but I absolutely adored it,” Jouppi said.

Drake Theater’s next production is a musical, Carrie, which will be performed the last weekend in October in the Coleman Studio.

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