Lackluster performances hinder production


Xavier Johnson / The Advocate

Nan Carter, played by Kaitlyn McCoy (right), Simon, played by Alejandro Garcia (center right) and Sweetheart, Played by Sarah Ann Piane (center left) listen to Kyle Carter, played by Umi Grant (left) apologize during a scene of “Exit, Pursued by Bear” at the Knox Center on Saturday.

By Xavier Johnson, Scene Editor

The drama department’s second play of the fall 2016 semester is interesting and funny, but the actors don’t bring any of the necessary emotion to make the production anything more than an average un-engaging 90 minutes for the audience. 

“Exit, Pursued by a Bear” is a play by Lauren Gunderson and directed by Angelina LaBarre. The production has three more shows in the John and Jean Knox Center on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. each night. Tickets are $10 for students and seniors and $15 general admission. 

The actual content of the play is fairly interesting. The story is about Nan Carter, played by Kaitlyn McCoy, getting the assistance of her two friends, Sweetheart and Simon, played by Sarah Ann Piane and Alejandro Garcia, to enact her plan of performing short scenes from their abusive relationships past in front of her tied up husband, Kyle Carter.

They hope this will make Kyle repent of his wrongdoings. If Kyle doesn’t repent he will be left tied up in their home in Northern Georgia to be eaten by bears.

This show suffers from poor acting throughout the play. The central problem with the acting is the portrayal of Kyle Carter played by Umi Grant. Grant is good with his facial expressions, but when he opens his mouth to speak it breaks the immersion in the play. Grant delivers lines as if he is reading them for the first time.

A good example of this is during the second act. There is a quiet and intimate scene between Nan and Kyle, but due to Grant’s poor line delivery the emotion doesn’t connect. Having someone in such a crucial emotional climax being unable to deliver the emotional weight needed hurts the show.

The acting is shaky as well when characters have to interact with each other. The interactions between the four actors don’t have a natural feeling. The actual dialogue they are saying is pretty funny.

The constant quoting of former President Jimmy Carter by Nan Carter is funny and some witty lines said by Sweetheart and Simon are also good. The jokes and quick wit don’t connect as well as they should because the actors delivering them are missing comedic timing and the words sound like actors saying lines, not like people interacting naturally.  

The show isn’t completely bad, however. When actors are delivering monologues they are individually OK. Piane and Garcia are largely in the play for comic relief and they both have a few high points. Piane has a strong voice and is good at being expressive and enveloping the stage with her presence. Garcia is shaky when delivering lines, but has a good sense of who his character is and approaches the role with confidence.

The clear highlight of the play is McCoy. She has a powerful voice that commands attention and is the only actor that delivers solid emotion. In the second act climax, McCoy is the saving grace of that scene. Her strong voice and facial expressions bring much needed emotion to the scene. “Exit, Pursued by a Bear” is a good play performed poorly.

This show isn’t something people should go out of their way to see. The production is worth the $10 or $15 admission, but not worth the 90 minutes spent watching it. The time would be spent better doing something else like homework or seeing another show.

Audiences should skip “Exit, Pursued by a Bear” and wait for spring 2017 to see the drama department’s upcoming shows “Two Sisters and a Piano” and “Godspell.”