‘Big Unknown’ First Devised Theater Workshop at RCNJ

Photo by Alex Baran

A group of Ramapo theater students spent five weeks preparing for the new production “The Big Unknown: A Devised Theater Workshop.”

Under the guidance of director Terra Vandergaw, the cast used the unique play as a medium for artistic expression, using music, dance and personal experience.

“The Big Unknown” is the result of compiled personal stories and universal themes that question the individual's purpose and place in the universe.

Each cast member addresses this theme by telling a story: some of which are about lost love, some about lost family and others about lost and misplaced thoughts.

Near the middle of the play, cast member and senior Katrina Biss sang an improvised song, which concluded with the line, “Maybe we’re not supposed to know.”

A wave of emotion swept through the audience during Biss’ song. Fellow actor Frank Rincon, a senior, delivered a monologue exploring humanity’s search for something, or someone, in everything, though in the end we rely solely on lessons learned and living in “the perfect moment.”

At the conclusion of the production, the motives of the cast and director were clear, in that the answers to all of our questions may not be readily available but can be found in moments experienced day by day. Different walks of life, different languages and different experiences all came together to address the same interpersonal questions of where, when, why and how do I belong in this huge universe? Audience member, senior Erin Hernon, said the production’s ability to combine the different stories and emotions of each cast member into a fluid thematic performance was remarkable.

After stepping away from this performance it is clear that through the use of movement, language and emotion these actors were able to uncover the beauty of the universe and all of its unanswered questions. “The Big Unknown” was a breathtaking experience full of realization, exploration and personal expression.