Poignant One-Act Plays Premeire in Sharp Theater

The abstract and deeply moving Ramapo productions of Pullman, WA and Church began last week in the Sharp Theater. Performances started last Friday, Saturday and Sunday and will continue this Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Pullman, WA and Church are two separate one-act plays written by Young Jean Lee, each consisting of their own plot and cast. While they are completely different entities of the same show, both lead audience members to question their own thoughts and the way they live their lives through extended monologues, humor and the occasional crazy story.

Both productions are directed by Peter Campbell , associate professor of theater history and criticism, with musical direction by David Gordon. Also involved are costume designer Beba Shamash, lighting designer Rachel Budin, sound designer Tom King and stage manager Natalie Ryan.

Many audience members entered not knowing what to expect from the abstract show. Sophomore Elida Alfaro knew the general format of the show, but, like many, was unsure of its themes.

“I actually knew that it was composed of a lot of dialogue. I knew that they would kind of be screaming at me,” Alfaro said. “I knew that there was a lot of audience interaction, but I didn’t really know the point.”

Sophomore Aly Cerbone also knew very little about the production initially.

“I work at the Berrie Center so I knew that it was two one-act plays and that they were mostly monologues, but other than that I didn’t really know content-wise what was going to be going on,” Cerbone said.

The first one-act play was Pullman, WA. Sophomore Samantha Simone began the show with a monologue on how to live. She was later joined by castmates Amanda Glick and Jon Henry, who offered their own opinions on how to improve life.

There were no set pieces for the show. Instead, the cast of Pullman, WA fully utilized the audience by sitting among them, directly addressing certain people and walking around the aisles. The cast also yelled insults and personal defects at the audience to provoke them to think about their own personal demons.

Church, the second-act show, took on a completely different tone but held essentially the same theme. It began with a booming monologue about the selfishness of man and earthy superficiality. After the faceless voice quieted, the curtain went up, revealing a simple set consisting of a podium and a few benches. The cast members, Dan Kropa, Caroline Harvey, Katrina Biss and Vanessa Rappa, entered from the back and walked down the aisles, greeting the audience as they went.

The show took on the format of a church service, complete with sermons, songs and even a dance, choreographed by Laura V. Ward. Like Pullman, WA, Church urged the audience to look into their lives and seek betterment. However, this was done in a much gentler tone than in the first act. The whole show ended with a surprising live choral number, led by soloist Paul Arvary.

Pullman, WA and Church left the audience questioning what they need to improve on in their lives, and perhaps it left them a little confused.

“It’s definitely interesting. I didn’t know anything about the meaning of this play in the beginning, but it’s definitely good,” Alfaro said.

Cerbone agreed that “interesting” is the word of choice when it comes to this production.

“It’s interesting; definitely different from what I expected, honestly. I’m not entirely sure how it all comes together yet,” Cerbone explained.

It’s not too late to catch this “interesting” production. The show runs at 8 p.m. in the Sharp Theater on Thursday and Friday, with the final show on Saturday.