From director Laurence Curry comes a play performed October 23rd, at 2:00 pm at the Johnson-McFarlane Hall at the University of Denver called Exiled. This play consists of only five actors who portray five main characters plus a slew of other unnamed characters who are not necessary to the plot of the piece. The plot of the play was essentially unknown throughout the entirety of the play. Only until after the performance, during the talk back section in which the cast talks to the audience about the piece, do we find out the real meaning behind the play.
Exiled is a devised play, which means that there was no script given out during rehearsal. The five person cast each wrote different stories to create their characters, brought them to rehearsal and then consistently made changes and lines up. It was said they even changed and created parts of the play on the opening night. While the amount of creativity put into this piece was appreciated, the plot was unstructured, hard to follow, and severely confusing. In some way, the characters were supposed to connect to one another, but these connections did not become clear at any point throughout the performance.
The main issue within this play was the lack of character development throughout. Characters and their actions drive the plot of performances, and this piece lacked development in both areas. Exiled is very much dialogue driven, so without a fully developed, three-dimensional character, there is not much to the story other than the face value of what is being delivered. Because this piece was devised, it was up to the actor to create these characters and convey the idea they had for each, and while some shined like the character of Jim Nash, an egotistical journalist who has a hidden soft side, others like that of Claire Paxton, a trust fund baby from New Orleans, did not.
One thing that was working for this play, however, was the lighting and sound effects that were very nicely incorporated. Lighting and sounds are important aspects within a performance in order for a mood to be accurately conveyed. While the plot, setting, and characters may not have been portrayed clearly, the one thing that was expertly depicted was the mood within each scene. The contrast between the warm colors such as yellow during scenes that were attempting to give background stories and blue during scenes that were conveying a serious or sad story was intriguing. The lighting helped to grasp the meaning behind the confusing scenes that were constant throughout the 40 minutes of Exiled.
The idea of Exiled is commendable, no doubt. It is supposed to make the audience evaluate the things we as a society value, but it was not as successful in conveying this. While it was said during the talk back that the performance was meant to be confusing and disorienting, it was not working in the way it was presumably hoped. With a little more structure and development, Exiled could accurately convey a commentary on societal issues that may be overlooked in our everyday lives.