…and leaves them pondering
The theatre production of Behold the Coach, in a Blazer, Uninsured (and other good intentions) premiered last Thursday night, Oct. 25, 2012. The piece, directed by Assistant Professor in Theatre and Dance and LALACS Henry MacCarthy, left audiences with mixed reactions of puzzlement, intrigue, and thought-provoking contemplations.
Presented in a series of five short plays written by Will Eno and originally published under the title of “Oh, the Humanity and Other Good Intentions,” the play depicts the bleak burden of living in society.
The basic premise of the show follows different individuals, all pedaling along in the uncertainty of life with the awkwardness of social interaction.
“It’s a lot about the facades that we put on in life,” Sophomore Annie Galloway said. “It’s about the image that we are constantly trying to portray to people, about how we present ourselves to others, especially in the face of tragedy; about how we are constantly telling the world that we are okay and going to these great measures to desensitize ourselves from the awful things that we’re feeling, but it never really goes away.”
The show opens up with “The Bully Composition,” where the audience is prompted by two photographers to reenact a photo taken in 1898 during the Spanish American War in Cuba.
“In this play, we try to bring out human emotions, to evoke feelings and get the audience to experience emotions that aren’t always lovely or good,” Junior Connie Boatwright said.
The plays following this are “Behold the Coach,” where a seasoned coach speaks of his life’s failures and misses, “Ladies and Gentlemen,” a scene in which two single individuals sell their personalities to a camera in an discomforting, yet comical manner. One of the more uncomfortable shorts was, “Enter the Spokeswoman, Gently,” in which a spokeswoman addresses the loss of loved ones in a plane crash.
“People were uncomfortable especially with ‘Enter the Spokeswoman, Gently,’” Boatwright said. “They were uncomfortable because there’s this woman who’s talking about these loved ones who died in a plane crash in a wrong way—it’s a serious thing and she’s completely doing it wrong. “
The show closes with “Oh, the Humanity”. In this short play, Galloway’s character is in blatant denial of the meta-reality of their lives, choosing to focus on the superficiality of existence versus any possibility of real depth. Her husband, distraught over the death of his father, is visibly troubled that his car isn’t really a car; it is merely two chairs situated next to each other.
“In the entire scene, she knows that they’re not in a vehicle,” Galloway said. “She knows that they’re sitting in these chairs and chooses to ignore that, ignores the woes of her husband and tries to get her husband over the death of his father because other things in the world are happening. She sums up the show because she is constantly performing in front of an audience.”
Though the play itself was written by Will Eno, many different aspects were either extended upon or altered from the original script.
“So much of this play was more than just the script,” Galloway said. “The big picture in the background, the showgirls, the decisions to keep the actors on stage the entire time, the order of the scenes were all choices chosen by the director.” In the script itself, the showgirls never had an existing part, along with the presence of the other actors and actresses sitting along the bench. Furthermore, the sequence of the plays were experimented with as well.
“For me, the show was about embracing the awkwardness and beauty of humanity,” Junior Emileah Zumberg said. “We provided comedic relief and a jarring contrast to the vulnerability and loneliness of the other characters.”
The show tried to give the audience the chance to interpret the material in their own way. “Some people were a bit confused,” Zumberg said, “Some laughed, some cried. Some people didn’t get it at all. But for some, it really resonated with them. That was our aim—to make people think about things.”