Adler Theater Hosts Close Performance

Over the past two weekends, Ramapo College’s theater program presented its fall show, “A Bright Room Called Day,” at the Adler Theater in the Berrie Center.

Written by Tony Kushner, better known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “Angels in America,” the play is set in Germany during the early 1930s. It focuses on a group of friends who are dealing with the changes in their lives during the rise to power of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party.

Theater professor Terra Vandergaw directed Ramapo’s version of the play. Vandergaw has also acted professionally, performing at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, the Public Theater in NYC on several occasions, on national tour with The Acting Company, Lincoln Center and several regional theaters throughout the country.

She has received Best Director and Best New Production nominations in London for the one-woman show “Beauty Is Prison Time,” which played in New York, London and Edinburgh and will be touring to Paris in December.

The small cast of 10 included five fresh new faces to Ramapo College theater. Jorden Edwards, who played Gregor BazwaldBaz,” was one of those freshmen, whose role in “A Bright Room Called Day” was his first at Ramapo. He wasn’t daunted by the role, however, because he acted all throughout high school.

Edwards’ favorite part of being in the production was “getting close to the cast and getting to know other people,” he said.

The play was held in the Adler Theater, making it very intimate, with a fairly small audience mere feet from the action on the stage. Some of the cast members even interacted with the audience at times.

The entirety of the play took place in the apartment of the main character, Agnes Eggling, played by Lexi Lapp. Occasionally the lights would shine on Zillah Katz, played by Vanessa Rappa, directing the audience’s attention to where she sat at a desk among the audience.

The lights and music set the tone of the show, with violin segments played by Rappa and red lighting cast during dark, eerie scenes. A camera that was controlled by Rappa also projected live video up onto two screens in the theater, adding a very unique element to the show.

Audience members seemed to generally enjoy the setup of the play.

“That’s one of the coolest parts about doing shows in the Adler Theater, because of the malleability of the stage and audience,” said junior Cara May.

Overall, the audience reacted positively to the performances of the cast members and the production of the show.

“It was really, really good,” senior Riles Murphy said.