REVIEW: RCP Red Eye Winter 2022

Each semester, the RC Players hold their Red Eye Theatre, a spectacular event that is succinctly contained within the confines of a 24-hour period, starting on Friday evening and ending in a showcase performance on Saturday night. What happens in between?

Students audition to write, direct, and/or act in pieces that are concocted and created based on the group of performers present. The group comes together for the first time on Friday evening in East Quad, meeting each other briefly before teams split up to do their own work. While the actors sharpen their improv skills and bond with each other, the writers are banging out comedy skits for their assigned casts. 

Sometime in the early morning, the actors and directors finally receive their scripts, and from then on it’s a race against the clock to put it on the stage: fully blocked, set, costumed, memorized, and energized. This is all unseen to the audience, who roll in at about 8pm to witness the products of this bizarre sleep-deprivation process.


Before the Red Eye acts, there was a delightful performance by the Improfessionals—a UMich comedy improv group who set the stage for the wacky comedy ahead. 

The Red Eye acts did not disappoint. The first act took a “princess switch” approach to a prince who doesn’t want to get married (Kyle) and a lonely peasant who just wants a girlfriend (Mina). In a fantastic fairy tale ending, the prince follows his musical dreams and gives a concert for the kingdom, the queen falls in love with the Mina’s rock-eating mother, and Mina ends up with the princess Kyle was supposed to marry. The second act was a twisted play on Dora the Explorer: Boots is feeling like Dora doesn’t see him as an important part of the team anymore. As Backpack and Map are mysteriously murdered one after the other, it’s discovered that Boots will truly stop at nothing to get Dora’s attention. 

Broad summaries don’t do justice to the amount of comedic detail and timing put into the performances, a testament to the work put into these pieces over the span of just 24 hours. The actors brought full energy and action to the pieces, and it worked: even I, who had gotten a full 8 hours of sleep, found myself cackling at the delirious humor that had been created and performed as the result of a group collective all-nighter.

The next Red Eye won’t be until the Fall 2022 semester, but if you’re interested, keep an eye out for how to get involved. Or, if staying up all night isn’t your style, at least make sure to check it out next time it hits the stage.

REVIEW: Much Ado About Nothing

This weekend, the RC Players put on a fantastic rendition of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. The choice to set the tale in a modern-day office environment was a good one, suiting well a story of drama, deception, and debate. Beatrice and Benedick can’t stand each other, but their scheming friends know they’re perfect for each other. While Beatrice’s cousin and Benedick’s fellow soldier friend await their wedding day, they scheme with Don Pedro to get the two fated lovebirds Benedick and Beatrice together. Through classic knowingly-overheard conversations and witty banter, the scheme works! But the besotted bickering couple can’t meet a happy ending without some scandal first, involving public disgrace and a rumored death…

Shakespeare, for the modern general audience, can be a little hard to digest, but director and assistant director Will McClelland and Darby Williams did a fantastic job of making the story engaging and entertaining on many levels. Shakespearean shenanigans were well carried out by the energetic cast who scarcely ever hesitated on a line’s delivery. I was especially impressed by Leonato’s scorning-his-daughter monologues performed by Laila Krugman and Maeson Linnert’s suave Don Pedro.

A truly great performance!

PREVIEW: The Captive

The Residential College Players, better known through campus as the RC Players, is presenting their first full-length play of the semester, “The Captive” this Friday and Saturday, at 8:00p both days, in East Quad’s Keene Theater! Originally written in 1926 by French playwright, Edouard Bourdet, the three-act melodrama was shut down after 160 performances on Broadway because the lesbianism portrayed in the play was considered “obscene”. The story depicts a young woman, Irene, who is hopelessly and painfully in love with the unseen character, Mdme. d’Aiguines, despite her imminent engagement to a young gentleman, Jacques Virieu. Her love for Mdme. d’Aiguines keeps Irene captive, in more ways than one.

Be sure to stop by the Keene Theater this weekend to catch this one-of-a-kind performance!


REVIEW: Weaving

It all started with a quote.

“I said to the sun, ‘Tell me about the big bang.’ The sun said, ‘it hurts to become.’” -Andrea Gibson

This quote actually embodies the theme of the play “Weaving” quite beautifully and fittingly, a story about becoming one’s true self and finding a place of belonging as that acceptance starts to settle in.

Vero and Bastion are two best friends in high school, both struggling to accept an identity that is true yet scary. Avery starts talking to Vero, lending her many books. Dominic and Bastion have been friends for a while, playing basketball every so often, but as Dominic is in his senior year of high school and Bastion is a year younger, confusing tensions and dynamics start to flare up.

In this play, Vero and Bastion were experiencing similar journeys in their denial and reluctant acceptance of their sexuality. However, they both couldn’t bring themselves to admit this to each other, showing how isolating such a revelation can be. It can be hard to admit something that the government and society has deemed as a sin or a vice or an indecent and inhumane act, whether it’s to yourself or your closest friend or your potential love interest that has sparked this all within you.

Bastion delivered a moving soliloquy during his history presentation, using prohibition as a metaphor for the LGBT community. The government can try to restrict people with all its power and the law, but the people will always persevere and push back. There was a rhythm and emotion to this speech, giving it a slam poetry-esque vibe that Sébastian Butler nailed with every trembling word and frantic pace.

Books played an important part of this play, with Avery giving Vero many books as her way of dropping a hint. For her paper, Vero wrote a literary criticism from a feminist lense, and while her teacher failed to appreciate what she had to say since she didn’t follow the prompt and quickly dismissed her objections to the heavily male-dominated curriculum in literature, Vero expressed the frustrations and the desire for recognition that many women feel today.

Hodges Adams wrote a chillingly realistic play of the everyday life of high schoolers in a town they couldn’t stand any longer. Every character in this story had some struggles. No one’s life is perfect, not the bullies or the happy, supportive friend. Natasha felt the pressures of applying to colleges and a suffocating grandfather. Though Marcus beat up Bastion in an act of homophobic violence, he was struggling with a substance-abusive family, having his own powerful take on prohibition. While this doesn’t excuse his intolerable behavior, it just shows that everyone is dealing with something under the surface others can’t see, accurately capturing the complexity of life and people.

I am incredibly grateful that Hodges Adams wrote this important piece of art and that they got to see it come alive in the Keene Theater by the RC Players. This play was incredibly moving and difficult to watch, precisely because it portrays the hard and strong life people of the LGBT community have to live to survive within themselves and within society.

PREVIEW: Weaving

“Stay true to yourself” seems to be the advice of the century as society becomes more accepting of different identities and supportive of individual aspirations. However, what happens when that advice starts to affect your closest relationship? Weaving, a new play by Hodges Adams, follows the friendship of Vero and Bastian, as well as their inner lives, as they each come to terms with their identities and the turmoil that comes with it. This LGBT coming-of-age story about books, love, feminism, and friendship is being performed by the RC Players on November 9 and 10 at 8pm in East Quad’s Keene Theater with a suggested ticket price of $5.

PREVIEW: RC Player’s Marie Antoinette

While delving into the world of American playwright David Ajmi’s Marie Antoinette, it is evident this revisionist history comes from the growing oeuvre of theater-meets-pop-culture. Labeled a “tragicomic satire”, it turns its French Revolution-era subject into a mirror for today’s political climate. Put on by the RC Players, I am interested to see how they will take Ajmi’s work and run with it, not only with the script, but with any potential set and costumes (though that’s possibly due to the cotton-candy spectrum of the Sofia Coppola film coming to mind). With the potential to invigorate (or infect, depending on your historical tastes) the continually-analyzed figure of Marie Antoinette with the self-absorbed pop culture of today, I’m excited to see how vain and indulgent their Marie can become to create the biting satire that humbly reminds us we haven’t distanced ourselves too much from the past two-hundred-fifty years.

March 17 & 18, 8pm

Keene Theater, East Quad


Image c/o the American Repertory Theater’s 2012 production of Marie Antoinette