Stories Develop Like a Polaroid Picture

Stories Develop Like a Polaroid Picture

Taking as its setting the outskirts of an unnamed city, Colgate University Theatre’s production of Polaroid Stories tells the story of life in extremity. Po­laroid Stories, written by Naomi Iizuka and directed here by Visiting Professor of English Simona Giurgea, depicts “run­aways, dealers, druggies and dreamers” who inhabit a derelict pier, as they live out their own abandonment. The play was inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses, whose classic stories of transformation mirror the play’s various stories that, like a Polaroid photo, each develop into a singular picture of a person.

For this production, Brehmer The­atre was transformed into the monu­mental set of an urban wasteland. Ex­posed pylons of some stripped-down, former mega-structure loom ominous on the set. On an empty stage at the play’s start, fans blow litter and garbage scraps, wistful tumbleweeds in their disuse. A fire-escape staircase hangs over the audience as the setting of soliloquies and intimate conversations between characters. A foxhole built to the side of the setting divulges and conceals fleeing drug dealers, and in one scene the corpse of an overdose victim.

In the midst of this impressive set, the impressive cast paints a moving portrait of loneliness and love, despair and hope, abandonment and discovery, with the dark always a shade deeper than the light.

The actors of the University Theatre evidence great dedication in the portrayal of their characters. Senior Trey Hunsuck­er shaved his head bald and grew a long, wispy beard for his role as the worldly-wise Zeus/Hades character. Senior Lauren Harries cut her hair into a trim mohawk for her role as Skinhead Girl. In one scene, senior Andy Giandomenico, as the char­acter Orpheus, acrobatically scales a high chain-link fence, and then boldly, and somewhat precariously, perches himself on top of it.

The actors had the challenge of bring­ing to life emotions, which, like the ex­tremity that these characters live in, rep­resent extremes of feeling. Senior Rob Eaton played Skinhead, who thinks of himself as Speed Racer, after both the children’s cartoon character and drug, and lives life at high velocity. His char­acter is played like a run­away train about to run off its tracks.

Giandomenico’s Or­pheus is a wild, strange street poet of vivid meta­phors, in the tradition of the mythological figure he takes his name from. Giandomenico plays him with off-kilter intensity. Senior Ming Peiffer plays a character who thinks herself a Ovidian god­dess, but finds herself treated as a mere mortal. She plays this role with fiecre indignation.

Sophomore Daniellle Solomon, who played the character Echo, had this to say about what she learned from starring in the play:

“I learned that we all spin our own realities for ourselves when we’re in dire situations. Whether or not they corre­spond to what is real is almost irrelevant because it’s the believing in it that keeps you alive.”

Polaroid Stories also featured senior Julie Calnero as Philomel, senior Laura Massey as Eurydice, sophomore Olivia Bioni as Persephone and first-year James Vigilante as Narcissus.