all photos Taylor Meredith/Catalyst
The dark music room within the bowels of College Hall was transformed into the stage for a New College student performance of the 2004 play Doubt: A Parable, written by John Patrick Shanley, last on Fri. May 4th and Sat. May 5th. The dialog-heavy play is about a severe principal of a church school named Sister Aloysius who pursues a parish priest accused of molesting a young boy. The short cast list included second-year Harrison Sherwin as Father Flynn, third-year Shelby VonHofe as the unrelenting Sister Aloysius, second-year Leila Escandar as Sister James and third-year Erin Jayes as Mrs. Muller.
“We don’t really have any theater performances …[but] we have a lot of actors and I think there’s a demand for it,” Olson said. Somewhere between 15 to 20 students auditioned for Doubt: A Parable‘s four-person cast.
Last year Olson co-directed “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind” with second-year Jaime Revollo with a much larger cast. Olson commented on the stark contrast between the plays.
“It’s a very small cast … it’s just so much more manageable to work with a smaller group of people.”
“It also has very minimal stage direction and it has very minimal props and sets too and so it gives the actors and myself a lot more freedom,” Olson explained. Chairs were set in rows on either side of the stage space as the actors walking between the audience and shifted between three or four simple sets.
“The actors put together all their costumes — I really had no hand in that. I just kind of told them what they had to have and they did that all themselves,” Olson said. “We had several people who aren’t even a part of the production help out with advertising and getting props together. It’s definitely a group effort to bring everything together. One person can definitely not do this alone.”
Olson plans to put on the 1944 French play No Exit next semester as a tutorial. Most of the performers as well as Olson took the play on as a personal project. Only one of the actors was doing it as part of a tutorial.
“This is a huge time suck [to] handle with all your classes,” Olson said. “You might as well get credit for what you’re doing.”
Olson also has her eye on the rock opera The Hazards of Love, written by indie band “The Decemberists”, which she hopes to be able organize for next spring.