By Sean Goodwin
Over the last two weekends, the Theater and New Dance department has pleased audiences with the premier of Lynn Nottage’s play ‘Intimate Apparel.’
‘Intimate Apparel’, directed by Professor Linda Bisesti, showcased just how talented the students of the theatre department are.
The story is centered around a female African-American seamstress named Esther Hill, and her pursuit of love.
The rest of the cast consists of six other actors and actresses, and each also have their own love story to tell.
It was a very ambitious play to present, but Bisesti and her production team succeeded in immersing the audience.
Esther Hill, played by second-year theater student Mary Hill, is an extremely sympathetic character with strong principles.
It was easy to get captivated during the pursuit of her goals.
“Me playing the character of Esther, and us being so much alike, was quite the challenge,” Hill said.
“It seems like it would be so easy, but it’s super hard. I don’t want to bring myself onstage because this is Esther’s story.”
“But, while talking to the director, there are some instances where I would have to bring Mary to give Esther some life.”
Mr. Marks, played by third-year theater student Jesse Alvarado, provided a strong comedic relief.
The most enjoyable scenes in the play featured him, and the audience reacted with laughter and gasps when onstage.
“Acting, as our director says, is telling somebody’s story,” Alvarado said.
“You want to do them justice as people, because they are people.”
“They have their own stories and their own personalities.”
“It’s not easy to take on a part that you don’t really relate to.”
I play a Romanian Jew, and we’ve been working on this accent for I don’t know how long now.”
Other characters included an aristocratic woman named Mrs. Van Buren, played by Yovanna Quintero; a piano-playing prostitute named Mayme, played by Roslyn Glasco; a laborer from South America named George Armstrong played by Harmand Mosquera and a landlord named Mrs. Dickson, played by fifth-year theater student Sarah Nyenke.
“The language is just so rich,” Nyenke said. ‘It’s so mixed with all these cultures: Southern, Jewish, Barbados. You’re traveling in this whole world of a melting pot just like America is, and it doesn’t feel natural until you step into that world.”
The play took place in 1905, however it was easy to understand due to the extent the department went to make sure the set design, accents and props matched the time period.
“Language isn’t celebrated on a daily basis as much as one would think,” Bisesti said.
“The actors have to rise to the challenge of language. I’m a voice teacher.”
“I’m really interested in them being understood, and to be able to celebrate the language of the time.”
“Actors live in a time where they’re disconnected from language a lot, and we have to rediscover the importance of language to tell the story.”
All of the elements of the play fit together perfectly, and the audience shared the same enthusiasm for the show as everyone involved in the production.
Although the run of ‘Intimate Apparel’ has already ended, the department will be putting on more shows on the main stage and in the studio theater throughout the rest of the year.
Courtesy of Chris Bashaw/Department of Theatre and New Dance
Fourth-year theatre students Harmand Mosquera and Mary Hill play a laborer and a seamstress
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