Thursday, December 3, 2020

‘Chasing ‘ChaGo’ premeries

The theater department had showings of “Chasing ‘ChaGo’” from Thursday, March 5 to Saturday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 8 at 2 p.m.

“The play is based off the movie ‘Waiting for Godot,’” Mason Barber, a sophomore theater major, said. “But in the movie, Godot is never found.”

In adapting the movie as a play, the cast wanted to address a number of things, one of which was the passivity in the nature of waiting thus the name change to Chasing “ChaGo.”

In the production, the main characters, Dewey and PJ, initially live a life that seems to be on repeat. Their routine is broken with the arrival of Bragglio and Slick.

Bragglio is a mean-spirited character who has a surprising amount of control over Slick. Every command, sit, stand, dance is obeyed instantaneously. Slick is also a walking encyclopedia and spewed a number of facts across the play.

“Being Slick was weird for me,” Lila King, a freshman psychology major, said. “I was always getting shouted on and doing all these physical activities. Then I’d get told you’re doing great!”

The introduction of Bragglio and Slick dramatically changes the play because it is a break from normalcy. Dewey and PJ comically imitate the odd pair. Both are successful in their Bragglio imitations but are unable to properly imitate what Slick does.

“Being in the show felt like a marathon,” Gavin Perrine, sophomore theater major said. “My co-star and I were literally on stage all 80 minutes.”

Things really change when they meet Balenciaga, played by Barber, a highly energetic individual with a Russian accent who gives them the tools they need to travel and find ChaGo, a famous graffiti artist.

In their search, they travel through freezing snow and scorching heat. Though none of these elements were physically present, they were strongly felt by audience members. The play also utilized projectors in capturing the various conditions Dewey and PJ went through.

Another notable projector moment was when Dewey and PJ were using Google Maps and the audience was presented with a visual of the pair struggling to handle the technology.

The play manages to work in things from pop culture such as the renegade which really grabbed the audience’s attention.

There was also another moment in which a giant beach ball was brought out, passed around by the characters then to the audience.

“There were a lot of rules involved in passing the beach ball around,” Laura Farrell, a senior music major said. “Our play couldn’t have been what it was without our audience members.”

Audience members definitely had a good time evidenced by the loud, uncontrollable laughs, audience members experienced upon hearing certain jokes.

Dewey and PJ finally reach New York where they discover they’ve just missed ChaGo. Though the elusive ChaGo is never found, the school ChaGo attended, Plattsburgh State, is discovered where the main characters discover a community they love.

Being able to work Plattsburgh State into the play demonstrates how much control the actors had over the play. The technique utilized is referred to as devised theatres in which the actors have certain goals to meet within the play but decide how they’ll get there.

One major arc in the play is the rise of Slick from servant to professor.

“I didn’t know how we were going to do it but I knew that somehow by the end of the play, Slick had to be free of Bragglio,” King said.

The play was also unscripted which meant that each night the play was performed, the audience was seeing a slightly different version of the play. Things like extra lines or different names were some of the subtle changes worked into the play.

“The director observed these subtle changes and advised that any change made be effective,” Farrell said.

“Laura-Jean Schwartau-Swanson, our director, is really with characters,” Barber said. “She’s able to give advice that helps you get into your role easily.”

There were many themes prominent throughout the play but the most important appeared to be community, which is what the play ended with.

 

Email Amanogho Ugbodaga at cp@cardinalpointsonline.com


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