Concordia’s theatre students bring their much-anticipated collective Underbelly to the One-Act Play Festival
Filled with strobe lights, choral speaking and aggressive physicality, Underbelly explores themes of animality and fear. This one-act collective creation is the result of eight months worth of research.
The show was created by Camille Banville, Julian Duarte, Deborah Hartmann, Wilson Menary, Mariam Nazaryan, Lukas Reinsch, Madeline Smart, Sophie-Thérèse Stone-Richards, Leyla Sutherland and Luisa Zap, a group of both Concordia theatre students and students from Erlangen, Germany. It is part of the exchange program offered to theatre students at Concordia. Students travel to Erlangen, Germany for four months to attend classes, and begin to work on a show. Afterwards, the German students do the same and come to Concordia for the following four months. At the end of the process, the group debuts their collective at Concordia’s One-Act Play Festival.
Underbelly focuses on monsters and hybrids (mythological creatures). The show explores people’s inner monsters and what they can become, through scenes of abuse and control. A particularly difficult scene to watch was one of abuse that features three couples who, in a synchronized sequence, appear to abuse their partners, both physically—by twisting their arms—as well as psychologically and sexually. It ends with a somewhat long segment of erotic and suggestive movements, and the three victims smearing vaseline on a plexiglas board and licking it off. While rather difficult to watch, it also leaves the audience wondering what is happening, especially when watching three people lick vaseline. Although it is a powerful image, it is quite unpleasant to observe.
The show’s transitions often featured a strobe light and a group of actors walking across the stage posing in various positions. Sometimes they engaged the audience with choral speaking, sometimes the transition was simply covered by music. Either way, it made for a more refreshing take on the typical transitions of a collective. The show is mostly about audience interpretation, as not many of the scenes are explained, due to the strobe light it was sometimes difficult to see what was happening. However, after attending a rehearsal of the show, it became clear that that was the point. If the audience is questioning what’s happening, and wondering if what was happening was real, then the actors seemed to be content. The One-Act Play Festival ran at Concordia’s D.B Clarke Theatre from November 9 to 13. It was composed of five student acted plays, some original some not.
To see what performance is coming up next for Concordia theatre, be sure to check out the Fine Arts department calendar.