In June, the Supreme Courtroom struck down a long time of precedent by gutting affirmative motion applications at faculties and universities all through the nation. With faculty admissions turning into more and more aggressive, the latest ruling solely will increase the nervousness 1000’s of scholars really feel as they curate the right utility to achieve one of many few coveted spots on the faculty or college of their alternative. This world of paranoia and shortage the place id is rigorously crafted and weaponized units the stage for Jiehae Park’s Peerless. Tailored from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Peerless conveys the perils of Asian-American twins M and L’s unchecked ambition as they mercilessly manipulate and homicide their classmates for the prospect to attend “The Faculty.” Though an overwhelmingly darkish piece stuffed with toil and hassle, Angel Katthi’s ʼ24 senior thesis manufacturing of Peerless proved to be a poignant and surprisingly humorous rendition of this related play.
Held within the Schwartz Middle for the Performing Arts’ Black Field Theatre on September 28, 29 and 30, Peerless featured an intimate solid of 5 phenomenal actors led by Noёlle Romero ʼ24 because the bold but sympathetic M and Katherine Lynn-Rose ʼ25 as her conniving twin sister L. Even from the primary moments of the present, the 2 actresses impressively tackled Park’s fast-paced, brief staccato strains as they used the energetic language to enliven the obsessive and threatened world they inhabit. All through the manufacturing, Romero ʼ24 and Lynn- ʼ25 maintained the depth of their performances, enjoying off of one another skillfully to create an interchangeable energy dynamic through which the viewers might by no means totally inform who was in management till the play’s surprising finish.
Juxtaposing M and L’s unrelenting nature, D, performed by the hilarious Oscar Llodra ʼ25, captured the geeky allure of a classmate who makes use of his 1/sixteenth Native American heritage to say M’s spot at “The Faculty.” Whereas many actors default to enjoying D as a stereotypical, annoying nerd, Llodra ʼ25 breathed life into his character, main M to really feel responsible about killing him for his admissions spot and creating a possibility for Llodra to convincingly remodel into D’s Brother who seeks revenge later within the play. Paralleling the witches in Macbeth, Davis Ouriel ʼ25 additionally gave a transformative efficiency as Soiled Lady and Preppy Lady, utilizing exact vocal and bodily selections to masterfully transition between the creepy, cryptic classmate who foresees L and M’s future and the candy, outgoing peer that L meets at “The Faculty.” Rounding out the evening of top-tier performances was BF or the Banquo to our Macbeth, M, performed by the pleasant Karys Everett ʼ25, who levied the play’s extra critical moments with sarcastic commentary and reducing humor. Though many productions of Peerless will solely play into the archetypes of this depraved Shakespearean satire, beneath Katthi’s path, the solid discovered nuance via Park’s witty language and multi-faceted characterizations, enabling the play’s piercing themes to come back to the fore.
Additional supporting these performances had been the considerate design selections that knowledgeable the manufacturing’s darkish ambiance. One of many important components of the manufacturing was the colourful costumes designed by Caroline Ryan ʼ24, which established the characters’ personalities and relationships. For example, when M and L first stepped onstage, the viewers instinctively understood that they had been twins by their matching college uniform with distinctive neon yellow and pink headbands and backpacks that hinted at M and L’s differing personalities but related needs. The intense, trendy costumes additionally heightened the play’s satire by paralleling the vivid costumes typically seen on well-liked TV exhibits about highschool college students, just for this picture to be inverted because the play grew darker.
The anchoring level of the present was the minimalist, multi-purpose set designed by Isa Goico ʼ24 comprised of a row of vivid blue lockers that created the varsity hallway in addition to the background for a number of different areas, similar to a front room and bed room when circled. Given the play’s intense pacing, the power to shortly and seamlessly transition between places proved pivotal in sustaining the actors’ vitality and the viewers’s curiosity in witnessing the plot unfold. Stemming from the efficient set design was the purposeful lighting design by Jillian Parrino ʼ25 and dynamic sound design by Isaac Newcomb ʼ23 that heightened the motion with out detracting from the play’s important scenes. Some of the chilling moments of the present was the ultimate scene when the lockers had been stripped away to create a naked stage that represented the quad of “The Faculty.” Whereas listening to the chimes of the bell tower and the chirping of birds as L stepped onto the quad bathed in heat mild, the viewers was left to ponder the darkest second of the present as L reconciled her previous along with her current and future.
Whereas the play serves as an apt adaptation of Macbeth and a darkish satire of the world of school admissions, with the latest Supreme Courtroom ruling and the more and more cutthroat faculty utility course of, Peerless demonstrates that its exaggerated world will not be too removed from our personal. Because the Bard mentioned finest, even “the devices of darkness inform us truths.” By combining the abilities of an unimaginable solid, crew and artistic group, Katthi’s senior thesis manufacturing of Peerless efficiently prompted audiences to mirror on the connection between id and success and to query what components of ourselves have we sacrificed to safe an insecure future.
Emily Pugh is a senior within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. She could be reached at [email protected].