MR. BURNS, A POST-ELECTRIC PLAY presented by Xavier University Theatre ran Sept. 7-9. Click here for a synopsis and more information on the production. I attended the Saturday matinee performance.
Xavier University Theatre kicks off their 2018-2019 season with a unique three act play based on an episode of The Simpsons television series. The three acts are set in the very near future, seven years after that, then 75 years after that. Each act was performed in its own unique performance space throughout the Gallagher Student Center.
The eight person ensemble, under the direction of Stephen Skiles, was very impressive in their performances and truly was an ensemble. The cast included Andrew Leonard, Cassie Delicath, Kelsey Schwarber, Aiden Dalton, Nora Weisz, Matthew Wilkinson, Catherine Sholtis & Gigi Relic. Their believably and commitment to the different settings went a long way to selling the show.
Music director Scot Buzza put the cast through its paces, whether they were performing a capella in Act Two or accompanying themselves on guitar, drums, piano – and I believe even a toy piano in the final act.
Equally impressive was the creativity and attention to detail put forth by the production team. Set/lighting designer Joe Beumer created some truly unique environments for Acts One and Three. The naturally lit “found space” for the second act also fit its needs extremely well. Given the gloominess of the weekend, I was curious if any additional light sources were used in the middle act for the evening performances. The “fire” light sources looked realistic and I loved the effect that lit the theater as we entered for the third act. The sets were built by the students under the technical direction of Joe Leonard. Honestly, I checked with the director to verify they didn’t purchase the set in the third act because it was so well done.
Costume designer Jessica Pitcairn gave the “costumes” of Act Two a great “limited resources/limited experience” quality and also created a unique aesthetic for the final act. Properties designer Lydia Reagan found a great balance in giving new life to found objects and finding creative ways to recreate objects that were mass produced in the “past.”
Overall, a job very well done. Thanks to everyone at Xavier University involved in bringing this fun and quirky show to a Cincinnati stage. It was an unexampled theatrical experience I will remember for a long time to come.
My rating: 4.75 out of 5.
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