Review: Churchill's 'A Number' By The Stony Brook Theatre Arts Department

Review: Churchill's 'A Number' By The Stony Brook Theatre Arts Department

My take on Stony Brook's performance of one of Churchill's most notable plays.
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Cast:

SALTER: Frank Murdocco (‘18)

B1, B2, Michael Black: Digby Baker-Porazinski (‘21)

Creative Ensemble: “Cissy” Ge, Daniel Martinez, Jessica DiPaola, Brian Bernhard, Heath Canfield, Yiru

Director: Steve Marsh

Director Steve Marsh took full advantage of the lack of stage setting and direction and sets the scene in what seems to be a New York City apartment owned by Salter. A majority of the show is director’s choice and the creative ensemble is widely used throughout the play.

The play begins with a prologue scene that includes a news broadcast of a scientist explaining the difference between in vitro fertilization and cloning and the implications they come with, followed by scientists in lab coats cloning the first sheep (a huge achievement in science). Scene 1 doesn’t start until 20 minutes into the show, which I thought was a very intriguing approach to such a short play.

Porazinski’s approach to both B1, B2, and Michael Black was absolutely brilliant. He understood the role very, very well and deserved a standing ovation.

Murdocco himself also had a really fantastic performance as well (senior, makes sense). Seeing Salter in real life gives "A Number" a much more meaningful perspective. Although B1 and B2 are twins, Porazinski lets us know that they are actually quite different people. They wear different clothes, sound differently, and have different intentions.

Marsh decides to make B1 and club-goer and heroin addict, a transition that is shown before scene 2, while B2 is an academic who fears for his life. All the holes seen in the script are covered by transitions from one scene to the other, using various types of R&B and pop music. Salter also treats both differently. Salter lets B2 know that there is nothing to worry about, while Salter, in his soliloquy with B1, actually violently chokes him and throws B1 across the stage.

The most confusing yet interesting scene is when Salter actually retreats to the forest, away from the city, to meet Michael Black (another director’s choice.) Also, Michael Black is dressed exactly like Salter and drinking the same cup of Starbucks, an unbelievable and thoughtful idea of imagery. Michael Black is actually quite humorous and Porazinski does a great job making Michael Black the perfect outsider to this quite incredible plot. The mirrors during the transition, however, confused me greatly, as I never got the concept of Autumn leaves and the fall season intertwined with the mirrors.

Salter is seen looking the every single one of them and each actor of the creative approaches Salter very differently. Some mirror actors approach him scared, some approach him in a very aggressive manner, others approach him quite normally. Salter himself also has a different approach to each mirror. He would look at his reflection in each and everyone of them, as well as interact with the individuals holding the mirrors, which I found very interesting.

I thoroughly enjoyed the performance and a job well done by the actors!!

Cover Image Credit: Stony Brook University

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17 'Winnie The Pooh' Quotes To Remember When You're About To Have A Final Exam Panic Attack

"People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day."

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Stressed AF about finals?

Let Pooh take the wheel:

1. "You're braver than you believe and stronger and smarter than you think." 

2. "Think it over, think it under." 

3. "Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day." 

4. "People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day." 

5. "It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?"

6.  "Think, think, think." 

7. "The nicest thing about the rain is that it always stops. Eventually." 

8. "Could be worse. Not sure how, but it could be." 

9. "To the uneducated, an A is just three sticks." 

10. "Home is the comfiest place to be." 

11. "So perhaps the best thing to do is to stop writing introductions, and get on with the book." 

12. "I must go forward to where I have never been instead of backwards where I have." 

13. "One of the advantages of being disorganized is that one is always having surprising discoveries." 

14. "Life is a journey to be experienced, not a problem to be solved." 

15. "It never hurts to keep looking for sunshine." 

16. "Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known."

17. My spelling is Wobbly. It's good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places."

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5 Songs to Add to Your Playlist This Month

Spring into finals week (and the summer) by "cleaning up" your playlist

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Here are some fun, fresh new tracks to check out as you finish out the rest of the school year and help you get out of your "music comfort zone!"

“Patience” by Tame Impala 

Genre: Electronic/Alternative

Tame Impala FINALLY released new music (!!), and this track is absolutely stunning. With frontrunner Kevin Parker staying on brand with the band's psychedelic, seemingly ethereal style, it sounds like a combination of 70s soft rock and waves of modern-day electronica, with Parker's voice drifting in and out in a kind of otherworldly, mellowed-out manner.

“Harmony Hall” by Vampire Weekend 

Genre: Alternative/Indie Pop

Vampire Weekend is also releasing an album, entitled "Father of the Bride", on May 3rd. From the looks of it, this track relates to the theme of marriage/weddings present in the album's title, and it is a fun, upbeat song that I have been listening to a lot in the morning as I'm getting ready for class! Ezra Koenig's voice is so unique and can cover a broad range, and I highly recommend listening to some of the band's other work as well ("Step" from their 2013 release "Modern Vampires of the City" is one of my all-time favorite songs!).

“Ready to Let Go” by Cage the Elephant 

Genre: Alternative/Alternative Rock

So many great artists are (finally) releasing new albums this year, and Cage the Elephant falls into this category. This track is an absolute banger and doesn't stray much from the band's style in that it includes a lot of loud guitar and dynamic vocals. Like Vampire Weekend, Cage the Elephant has been around since the early 2000s, and I highly recommend checking out some of their earlier work as well (big fan of their most recent album, actually!)

“Apple Orchard” by Beach House 

Genre: Indie/Electronic

Beach House is one of my favorite bands of all time, as I find a kind of an ethereal, beautiful sadness in the dreamy style of instrumentalist Alex Scally and lucid vocals of singer Victoria Legrand. This track is from their 2006 self-titled debut and is probably one of my favorite songs they've ever released. The lyrics are poetic and perfect for the post-finals enjoyment of spring weather, in that they preach relaxation and restfulness, and the song's electronic rhythms echo the essence of spring as well. If you like this song, then I highly recommend checking out the band's other albums as well (Depression Cherry is one of my favorite albums of all time).

“April Come She Will” by Simon & Garfunkel 

Genre: 60s Pop

No spring playlist is complete without a little Simon & Garfunkel! This song is a classic, its timeless, poetic lyrics capturing the epitome of the coming of spring and all its glory. In fact, I consider the entire album (entitled Sound of Silence) to be perfect for the pleasantness and feelings of renewal/natural revitalization associated with the coming months, so be sure to give it a listen if you haven't heard it before!

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