By Evan Hazard
"Gint" by Romulus Linney (Photo courtesy of Purchase College website)
Despite only being a month into the new semester, Purchase’s Conservatory of Theatre Arts is debuting its first show of the year. Despite having such a short time frame to rehearse, “Gint” offers suspenseful action, intense emotion, and witty comedy.
Adapted from Peer Gynt, the play follows the titular character, a troublesome young man from the Appalachian Mountains, on a journey to find himself– with a wondrous twist. Mythical creatures and abstract storytelling are used, making you feel as though you are being told an Appalachian folktale.
“It’s like an every-man story where a guy loses himself trying to find his purpose, and along the way, he maybe makes mistakes where he thought he was being himself but really was only acting for himself,” said Claire Frawley, Production Stage Manager. “It’s about how selfishness can be so easy to fall into.”
The seats were arranged on the side of the stage, the viewer can tell from the first scene that it was very intentional. The actors were dancing, clogging, and tapping up and down the floor. So many things are occurring from all directions, creating a fully immersive story where the audience are characters in the play as well. “The audience is like another character in the show,” said Leah Bloom, who played the mythical Hog Woman.
When discussing the use of the play’s “360 stage” with Em Rose Stern, actress for Oldie, she said, “It’s awesome to have a 360 space because, more often than not, in theatre, you have to cater to just one side of the stage. But in this, you can turn around and go any way that you’d like to share this experience with the audience.”
“Being an actor is a very vulnerable thing, so being able to do that together is a very amazing thing,” said Nora O’Donnell, actress for Sally Vicks. “And creating comfortability with each other and getting to know each other was important.”
Additionally, Rose Stern added, “The director [of the show] was our freshman year acting teacher, so to have her come back really put into perspective where we all are now.”
The director of this production of “Gint” is Trezana Beverley, who holds the title of being the first African-American actress to receive a Tony Award for “Best Featured Actress in a Play”. O’Donnell described her as, “...a very powerful, strong, opinionated woman.” The rest of the actors had nothing but praise for her directing and teaching.
“Gint” concludes with its last performance on Sunday, September 30th, and according to Rose Stern, although they are sad for the curtains to close, they “feel like one big family– and even though that sounds corny it’s true.”