This past Tuesday, Urban Theater presented Dark Brown Eyes: A Play In Four Seasons, which was performed at the Palace Theater. The play was written and directed by junior Jamil Jude and co-directed by senior Raymon Taft.
Dark Brown Eyes is the story of two college seniors, Divonne and Gianni, who have been dating for the past four years and are getting ready to spend the rest of their lives together. They face problems typical of long-term couples: listening to each other, taking interest in their different activities and trusting each other. Divonne cheated on Gianni their freshman year, and now Gianni suspects that he is cheating again.
As it turns out, a girl Divonne is friends with is interested in him, and she sparks a temptation in Divonne that he might not have acted on otherwise. Inevitably, Gianni finds out, and they must work to decide how to make their relationship last, or if they even want it to continue.
The play is broken up into seasons. The beginning of the play was fall as the school year began and, as with each succeeding season, that section was opened with a poem relating the season to the plot of the play.
The play was set in modern times, and it exuded aspects of its time. Current music played as an interlude for set changes. Technology was also used in unconventional ways in the theater.
Some conversations were vocalized through instant messaging and AOL Instant Messaging noises were played during these times. A TV audience was heard at one point to indicate that Gianni was watching television. Characters texted and “received calls” during scenes. It was interesting to see how new forms of communication have worked their way into theater.
The audience wasn’t let into the theater until the play’s supposed start time, an occasional occurrence at the Palace. Dark Brown Eyes then started 15 or 20 minutes late. The audience seemed to enjoy the play exceedingly, laughing hysterically and singing along with the music. A personal connection appeared to have been made between the audience and the characters.
The play itself was good, but it felt very long. A lot of scenes seemed to have very repetitive content, so that the message was understood long before the lights faded. The acting was very well done. Particularly with the main characters, it seemed as though they acted so naturally that, removed from the stage, their words, actions, and expressions would have still made sense. The feelings seemed genuine.
While the recently performed Urinetown was great for its purposeful, satirical overacting, Dark Brown Eyes could have been real life. Jude must also be commended for his astute observations of the little idiosyncrasies of life.
The script and cast certainly captured the essence of interactions between friends and lovers, which more than makes up for any slight drags in the plot.