Anyone walking in the general vicinity of the Gund ballroom for the past several weeks would have noticed a strangely-behaving group of people yelling at each other. The Rimers of Eldritch by Lanford Wilson is a terrible, depressing and overall misery-inducing play. That being said, you should definitely go see it tonight.
The students on this hilltop have an endless amount of high caliber theater-related skills, ranging from acting, directing, lighting design, costume design, etc., all of which came together to make Rimers a worthwhile theatergoing experience. The set, masterfully arranged by Casey Griffin ’14, places the actors almost in a square fishbowl on the ballroom floor, with audience on four sides and four different viewpoints. Less truly is more, since milk crates, a few chairs and a few tables are all the actors needed to make the various settings of each scene, from the town church to the creepy woods on the periphery, feel real.
The play itself, which, as I said above, is an overtly depressing story, revolves around the trial an accidental murder that takes place in a formerly prosperous mining town that now is a complete ghost town. Most of the narration of the plot is told by Rachel Cunningham ’14 and Perry Minella ’14, who deftly play two of the town mothers who spend most of their time gossiping on a porch somewhere. The actors playing the elderly characters truly shined in their roles. Robert Angell ’13 played old hermit and occasional zombie Skelly Mannor to a tee, giving the archetypal crazy old creeper just the right amount of humanity necessary to make him one of the most likable characters in the show. And Lydia Shahan ’15 was brilliant as ancient Mary Windrod, a batty old lady who, like Mannor, did have occasional moments of coherence and wisdom.
The directing of Robbie Sellers ’14 was flawless, making the story of a hopeless town and its equally-flawed inhabitants come alive. This was one of the few plays that I’ve seen that I both genuinely liked and truly hated. Kudos to all for that.
Go see The Rimers of Eldritch. It’ll make you think.
Do it tonight: 8:00 p.m., in the Gund Ballroom. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. They’ll even hold the (albeit nonexistent) curtains for the Take Five concert!