Free Essay About These Shining Lives: An Acting Performance Review
Melanie Marnich’s, “The Shining Lives,” is a rich, beautiful tapestry of a play that I recently had the pleasure of viewing at the UMCB Black Box. I attended the play last Friday due to a class assignment and was not expecting anything particular from the play, or the participants; I was there in an effort to learn more about acting, and the performers’ skills. I left the performance delightfully surprised with what I had witnessed. Though the play itself, as the well the performances were not as I had originally expected, this ended up being the best possible outcome as I was able to learn a lot about acting through the process.
When I initially walked in, the “theater” surprised me. It was quieter than I had anticipated, with soft music and an unusual seating arrangement. The audience was seated around the theater haphazardly, rather than in rows in front of the stage as I am used to. The “theater” itself was separated and designed in two parts, arranged in such a way that it was hardly a theater at all. The first part appeared to resemble a living room more closely than an acting space. It had a couch and a dining table. The second part housed four typical tables that one would find in a coffee house or small restaurant.
“These Shining Lives,” itself was made up of key acting elements that made it very exciting to watch, albeit in a low-key manner. For example, lighting was crucial to many of the scenes. The lighting was often dim, with brighter spots shining on focal points in order to draw the audience’s attention to certain characters or points of emphasis. This allows a performers acting to be best represented throughout the performance. The set design was also crucial to the acting, as were the clothes, which were all custom-made for the production. It allowed the audience to feel fully immersed, consequently allowing all acting techniques to transcend the normal viewing experience. It became more than a simple production by the play’s end.
Many specific elements of the show, as well as the acting, stood out to me, as well. For instance, the plot was interesting, but was also enhanced by the acting. It allowed the performers to show a wide range of emotions, conveying sadness, romance, happiness, and many other feelings. The story speaks of the past, calling upon the performer’s to show remorse, regression, and an essence of reminiscence. Many plot points involve the mother of two children attempting to remain devoted to her kids, and her loving husband as she searches for a job to help support her family. The wide range of volumes the performers used to display the varying emotions during these scenes allowed them to be more believable, as each scene was fueled with emotion. Sometimes sadness is quiet, while other times it is loud. This can be said of all emotions, and the actors utilized this technique beautifully, shouting at each other, or becoming barely audible at all the right moments. As the mother becomes close friends with a group of women she meets through her job as a watchmaker, we see relationships with other characters begin to blossom, and become acutely aware these relationships are essential to the emotions of the play. As she struggles to support her family, her new friends at work provide her with support, and the audience was able to sense not only the connection between the mother and her family, but also the connection between her and her coworkers. As the play continues, and the women begin fighting for their rights after having been diagnosed with cancer because they have used Radium at work, the audience witnesses just how powerful volume can be, as well as just how vital the relationships between the characters are to the play. The bonds essential made, “These Shining Lives,” what it was, as we notice that even when people are stuck at the bottom of society, they are rich in emotion and friendship.
In sum, the atmosphere, as well as the acting techniques of the performers made this play a success. The atmosphere was relaxed, allowing for full immersion. The performers utilized the volume of their voices during emotional scenes. They also allowed themselves to connect with one another, showing how important bonds were to the places core. The play’s significant plot points were poignant because of these variables.