I Love Brown, I Just Wish There Was More Experimental Theater

Published Friday, October 25th, 2019
Filed under Opinion

While at Brown, I’ve seen a lot of impressive shows. Into the Woods was really good, for example, and so was Next to Normal. I’m so grateful that I was able to see these classic musicals brought to life before my eyes. But I guess my big question is… where’s the weird stuff? I’ve had enough of all this straight-forward theater when what I truly crave is edgy, boundary-pushing shows, performed in a cramped blackbox venue and 100% devoid of plot. Why don’t we have more stuff like that?

Don’t get me wrong, I respect the theater community at Brown and I can definitely get behind a good old-fashioned play every once in a while. I applaud Sock & Buskin for putting up sensible, tried and true shows like Hedda Gabler. But what about those of us who want a little extra oomph? Why not go for something more… out there? Like, what if S&B did a show where the entire cast played 1 character, and there were synchronized breathing sequences and nature scenes projected on giant screens behind the actors and none of it made any sense at all? Oh, I would absolutely love something like that.

Shakespeare on the Green is all well and good, but again, where’s all the zany stuff? I understand that Shakespeare is classic, but I think there’s still some room to push the envelope. What I’d like to see here is kind of hard to identify, but I guess if I had to put it into words it would be this: a classic Shakespeare play, but it’s set at a frat party instead of old times. That would be positively wacky!

Production Workshop? So much room for improvement there. The Wolves was fine, I guess--but a show about soccer where the actors wear soccer uniforms and play soccer? Who directed that, Captain Obvious? Bor-ing. What I’m suggesting is something more avante garde, something a little kooky, maybe along the lines of… oh, I don’t know… an abstract installation about root vegetables that is not a play at all. Yeah. That’d be sick.

Musical Forum is doing a good job though. None of their shows have a set and I think that’s pretty wild.