Hot choreography

The Vogt Studio Series’ second production aims for an open minded audience with language, nudity and racy elements taking center stage

Vogt gets Bold, a series of one-act plays features four shows: “Act Without Words,” “Noses Off,” “The Machine” and the strobe-light-accented “Hot Chocolate” (pictured above).
Vogt gets Bold, a series of one-act plays features four shows: “Act Without Words,” “Noses Off,” “The Machine” and the strobe-light-accented “Hot Chocolate” (pictured above).
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Jacqueline Andrade’s standout piece, “Hot Chocolate,” combines intricate choreography, strobe lights and music to create a sensual and stimulating atmosphere.
Jacqueline Andrade’s standout piece, “Hot Chocolate,” combines intricate choreography, strobe lights and music to create a sensual and stimulating atmosphere.
Photo: 

Variety is the spice of life and Vogt Studio satisfies this desire with their second production, Vogt gets Bold, a series of one-act plays. Featuring four shows, “Act Without Words,” “Noses Off,” “The Machine” and “Hot Chocolate,” Vogt gets Bold has something to offer everyone.

As a student-run theatre the Studio boasts a unique range of theatrical genres and creative individuals, but be warned, this is not a conventional theatre experience. The show contains sensitive language, partial nudity and even a strobe light in the final play; the show is intended for a mature and open minded audience. Although some plays are stronger than others, Vogt gets Bold will appeal to both avid drama enthusiasts and casual theatre goers.

Lauren Jackson’s adaptation of Samuel Beckett’s first play, “Act Without Words” doesn’t live up to the author’s reputation. A man is cast out on the stage and taunted by a shrill whistle. As it jeers him on, a white pillar is illuminated with the words “the tree of life,” drawing the man’s eager attention. The action follows the man responding to the whistle, which has him commit increasingly strenuous acts, apparently for the tree’s enjoyment.

The lack of dialogue in the play creates an intimate atmosphere; unfortunately the director didn’t use this to their advantage. Some of the man’s most crushing defeats at the hands of the whistle were met with a laugh, leading me to believe the adaptation fails in capturing the original’s bleak commentary on human culture and its many alterations have no apparent significance.

Perhaps it can be taken as the director’s attempt to make the play more appealing to a modern audience, but this doesn’t excuse the detrimental changes.

Steven Suepaul’s dramaturgy “Noses Off” can best be described as an interactive experience with a ragtag group of misfit players clad in clown noses. After introducing themselves, the group (made up of a variety of vibrant characters ranging from grouch to egomaniac) are addressed by their Clown Master from the audience.

While the characters’ unique idiosyncrasies speak to the capability of the actors, the real thrill of the show is its self aware approach to drama. With players hopping in and out of seats in the audience and at one point even handing out candy, “Noses Off” sets itself apart as a truly unique theatrical experience.

Austin Shaefer’s “The Machine” takes a dramatic turn from the other plays. The haunting figure of an elaborate mechanical edifice overshadows the stage as the light comes up. An eerie glow emitted by the machine sets a tone of intrigue and mystery. The play follows the struggle of two women, who having spent three days anticipating some climactic discharge from the machine, are slowly driven against each other under its mysterious influence.

The strange and ominous atmosphere does a great job of drawing the audience into the well-delivered dialogue, however sloppy pantomiming can at times detract from the immersive experience, especially when an actor forgets about the smoke their character had in their lungs. Jacqueline Andrade’s “Hot Chocolate” is the veritable aesthetic climax of the show. Featuring the aforementioned strobe light, dancers take the stage accompanied by energetic house music.

The entire show is a masterfully choreographed dance piece, always stimulating and often sexy.

The alluring makeup left me wondering how the director got their hands on so much glitter. While the audience enjoys a sensual feast the show falls short of raising any meaningful questions or themes, I was confused as to why some of the cast had specific roles such as “The Sceptic” or “RoboCop.” Although it doesn’t leave much to interpretation, you will get caught up in “Hot Chocolate’s” energetic ambience and find yourself bobbing along to the beat.

Production Manager Jennie Appleby suggested that the right seating makes the show. Be sure to arrive early and secure a center row seat for an optimal viewing experience. Seats on the periphery make for odd viewing angles, at times facing an actor’s back for the duration of a play. However, the variety of theatrical genres and proficiency of cast and crew will leave you with plenty to talk about after the show, so bring a friend.

Despite some forgivable shortcomings, Vogt gets Bold is an essential experience for anyone interested in learning about and experiencing phenomenal student theatre.

Vogt gets Bold runs tonight and tomorrow at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. at Carruthers Hall, tickets are $4.

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