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Eastern Presents Contemporary Theater Production “Pornography”

Published on October 20, 2015

Eastern Presents Contemporary Theater Production “Pornography”

Home-grown terrorism, the effects of a consumerist culture, and the alienation and objectification of individuals were only a few of the themes portrayed in Eastern Connecticut State University’s production of the award-winning contemporary play, “Pornography” by Simon Stephens. The play, which was put on by the Performing Arts Department and Drama Society, was performed in Eastern’s Harry Hope Theater from Oct. 6-11.

The play offered an eerie and extraordinary portrait of the events of July 7, 2005, in London, England, when several bombs went off in the London transport system, killing 56 people including the four bombers. “This play allowed us the opportunity to explore sensitive, controversial and relevant topics, such as home-grown terrorism, that plague our society” said director David Pellegrini, professor of theater. The play’s script is unique, in that the director receives a manuscript with all the characters’ lines, but can rearrange them in any way they want. “Having the ability to rearrange the lines made for a one-of-kind performance of this production,” said Pellegrini.

The ambiguous exploration of morality in “Pornography” impacted the ensemble as well. “It was quite the intellectual challenge finding a true meaning behind the play. Right down to the show and even in between shows I was constantly analyzing the meaning behind different lines and why we were saying them. Even after the play’s conclusion, I still wonder how different characters could be interpreted,” said communication major Derek Bleau ‘16. “In the end, the play still has me wondering about its motives, and I challenge myself in explaining to others what it truly meant. I can’t say I’ve ever experienced an exploration of human character and morality like we did in this show, and it was beyond enlightening.”

Hanna Madler, an accounting and theater major, pushed herself to take on new and interesting roles in this production, both acting in the ensemble as well as taking on the duties of a design assistant. “I have acted and designed costumes before but never both simultaneously. It was a great learning experience to sit in on production meetings and be a part of rehearsals as well,” said Madler. “Having someone in the cast who works on costumes can help the designer better understand what the director wants out of the show, which is a unique angle to work with.”

Zach Watson ’17, communication major, was one of many students who stepped outside of their comfort zones to perform in “Pornography.” “This was my first main stage production and I couldn’t have been surrounded by better friends and talent. Each night I would actively take notes in my head and watch my fellow cast members steal the show,” said Watson. “As for the subject matter of the show – Stephens’ commentary on society and how we live in ‘pornographic times’ – was enthralling not only to discuss but to be a part of. The issues in this show are especially important because we deal with them every day.”

Written by Jolene Potter