The Binghamton University theater department’s 2012 season is kicking off with three one-act plays from March 1-4. Each show costs $2 and you can choose which productions you would like to see.
“Pischer,” directed by Josh Mizikowski, will be performed at 8 p.m. nightly in The Gruber Theater, located at the Fine Arts Building.
“Pischer” centers around three Jewish men in modern-day Israel who secretly meet in a warehouse to prepare for an attack upon Palestinians in the embattled region. The man in charge, Avram, and his Russian counterpart Sasha are prepared to set the plot into motion with the help of Elon, who seeks to avenge the death of his brother.
Brenden Gregory, a freshman majoring in theater, plays Elon, who grows from a boy into a man throughout the play. His growing doubts incite fear, anger and violence from the others, culminating in an explosive finale.
“I think my favorite scene in the show would have to be the late moment of realization Elon has about the true nature of Avram and Sasha’s plan and the argument that ensues,” Gregory said. “It is the scene that both brings together the pieces of the puzzle before it and also sets up the intense finale which follows.”
After participating in the fall production of “Man of La Mancha,” Ian Penzel, an undeclared freshman, is now performing in his first studio show as Sasha. And he’s making quite an impression on Binghamton University’s theater department.
“This type of play requires a special type of realism to convey the message it is expelling properly,” Penzel said of “Pischer.”
Penzel thinks students should come see “Pischer” to educate themselves about the current problem in the Middle East.
“There is a definite conflict, and most people don’t know the details or specifics of why there is a conflict in the first place,” Penzel said. “This play provides for a good analogy of how many people in the Middle East feel.”
2. “Trip’s Cinch”
“Trip’s Cinch,” directed by Njideka Agwuna, will be performed at 8:40 p.m. nightly in Studio A, also located at the Fine Arts Building.
In three scenes — each holding truth but lacking straightforward answers — “Trip’s Cinch” takes the audience through a journey that will result in debates over what viewers think really happened the night Lucy Parks and Benjamin Trip met, the night an alleged rape occurs.
Lindsay Ryan, a junior majoring in sociology, plays Val, a professor writing an academic book that includes the case of Benjamin and Lucy.
“The show doesn’t give anyone the answers,” Ryan said. “It instead allows one to take on their own perspective and create their own arguments for why they take one side or the other.”
Agwuna, a senior double-majoring in theater and cinema, is no stranger to studio shows, having previously directed or sound designed more than five productions.
“I think that with every new work you get a different experience because the text is different and is telling a different story; a new story that hasn’t been told by you the way you want to tell it with the people you want to tell it with,” Agwuna said.
“Trip’s Cinch” will provide an intellectual challenge for the audience as the play searches for truth in what the characters are saying.
3. “The Whole Shebang”
The final play each night will be “The Whole Shebang,” directed by Maureen Mines, at 9:30 p.m. at The Gruber Theater.
This play poses the question, “What if the universe was just God’s science project?”
Basically, two humans get transported to another dimension and end up at God’s presentation of his master’s thesis to a panel of professors and the dean of the university.
Director Maureen Mines, a graduate student studying theater with a concentration in directing, explains that the play incorporates several themes, including who we are and why we are here. She calls it “a different kind of love story.”
“There’s an interesting range of experience among the actors, and different approaches — it’s a real pleasure to work with them and see them develop and explore the play,” Mines said. “I think on opening night the joy they experience will spill over into the audience. It’s pretty infectious.”
Arshia Panicker, a junior majoring in theater, plays Edna Doe, a human who gets transported into the new dimension.
“People should come see the show if they want a good laugh,” Panicker said. “This is a comedy after all.”