Photo Courtesy of MTSU Theatre Department
Story by Stephanie Hall
Middle Tennessee State University Theatre Department had their first shows of the semester with “The Giver,” a play based off the popular children’s novel by Lois Lowry. It ran from February 16-19 at Tucker Theatre.
The show, like the novel, follows Jonas (played by Lyndarious Arrington), who lives in a seemingly perfect world. When he turns 12, he is chosen to receive memories from The Giver (played by Rona Carter). Then Jonas must learn the truth about the world that once existed.
The lights went down and an airplane was heard going overhead. An announcement came on telling the actors that there is nothing to worry about. It was merely a pilot who got lost and that he would be “released”. Everything is fine.
Arrington is onstage the entire time, going back and forth between scenes. He does an incredible job of adapting to each scene, remaining well focused.
The set, props and costumes are a variety of grays and blacks, with the only color being Fiona’s hair (Fiona played by Emma Bastin),an apple that Asher (played by Caitlin McMahan) throws and some books on The Giver’s bookshelf. They used projectors to wash color over certain scenes, though. While I wish that Fiona’s wig was grey for the first part of the show, I also understand that a grey wig might not have translated well on stage.
One amazing aspect of the show was the use of projections. Whenever Jonas begins seeing the color red, a red bloom goes across the stage. When The Giver gives Jonas’s memories, the memory is playing behind them on the set pieces. When the first memory was projected, many people were awed by the projections.
Carter does an amazing job as The Giver. He made the character seem terrifying and mysterious at the beginning of the show; However, as The Giver shared more memories, Carter portrayed The Giver to be more fatherly and caring. A stand-out moment was when The Giver finally told the story of Rosemary (played by Mary-Beth Mangrum), the former receiver of memories.
However, the moment that had the audience the most surprised was the ending. As the set was being cleared from the stage, it began to snow. This was amazing, especially with the Arlington’s acting.
“The Giver” was an incredible show to start up the new semester and brought back memories of a childhood favorite book.
Stephanie Hall is the Assistant Lifestyles Editor for MTSU Sidelines.
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