Monday, January 22nd, 2018

The Well of Horniness pushes students out of their comfort zone

Posted on September 29, 2014 in Arts & Culture
By Krysteana Scribner

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This past weekend, The Well Of Horniness, written by Holly Hughes, made its debut at Russell Hall, located on Gorham campus. Unlike other shows here on campus, this is a radio play, which is a staged show where actors and actresses line up and perform from the same spot on the stage the entire time. It includes mature subject matter and has a variety of foley effects that surprised audiences and left them begging for more.

The Well of Horniness tells the story of a woman named Vicki who escapes from an evil lesbian sorority called the Tridelta Tribadism. She soon hooks up with Rod, a carpet salesman who is as dumb as the shag he sells. When Rod introduces Vicki to his sister Georgette at dinner, Vicki falls for Georgette. When Georgette is mysteriously murdered, Vicki goes on a search for evidence with the help of a glamorous lady detective, a crusty cop and a nefarious bar-girl.

Sarah Kennedy, a senior theatre major, is cast as Georgette. According to Kennedy, the subject matter of The Well of Horniness is both sexually-charged and full of funny commentary.

“It’s very quirky, over the top and super raunchy. So, in that retrospect, it’s essentially an hour and 15 minutes of lesbian puns,” said Kennedy.

Rhiannon Vonder Harr, a junior vocal performance major, plays the role of Garnet McClit. She says that by talking about these touchy subjects, the play holds a deeper meaning than others she has participated in.

“The show deals a lot with religion, sexuality and racism. These are topics that are often too difficult to talk about, and can make people feel uncomfortable. Yet these are things that need to be talked about, they are not just going to go away,” said Vonder Harr.

The cast of 12 individuals were given their scripts at the end of May, and during the first week of August, they finally got together to do some table work and rehearse.

Meghan Brody, a theatre professor and the director of The Well of Horniness, talked about the amount of work that went into preparing for this radio play.

“Most USM theatre productions include at least 100 hours of rehearsals. That makes for an intensive hands-on educational experience for students,” said Brody.

David Bliss, a junior theatre major, said that the best part about participating in this radio play is the opportunity to make foley effects, which are sounds such as doorbells and gunshots that are made by the performers.

For Kennedy, the most difficult part was having to create certain sound effects that were uncomfortable to perform.

“It’s uncomfortable in the sex scenes. You have to be able to look at your best friend and pretend to have sex with one another. It’s difficult because you have to become comfortable with yourself and the other person, as well as the entire audience watching you perform,” said Kennedy.

Brody understands how difficult this kind of radio play can be, and she also understands that almost half of the cast members are making their mainstage debuts.

“These students have been learning how to approach comic material that could prove offensive to some audience members. That’s a valuable lesson for them. This is the ideal place to experiment, grow and learn about ourselves and others,” said Brody.

All of the cast members agreed that the most difficult part of performing a play like this is being able to keep sound effects timed with the acting.

“The timing has to be perfect. For example, at one point I have to watch my friend Ryan Biggs as he looks through a newspaper. In response to flipping his pages, I have to make whooshing noises for what he is doing, and it has to be perfectly timed in order to work,” said Bliss.

“It takes a lot of concentration and focus to make the sound effects and react to them at the right time. It’s easy for people to lose their concentration and miss their cues,” said Kennedy.

This radio play is the first of its kind to appear on campus. Both Kennedy and Vonder Harr agree that its uniqueness sets it apart from other plays.

“It’s different from other plays because there is no blocking or set piece. Instead, everyone is lined up on the stage. However, there is still interaction,” said Kennedy.

“It’s not something you’d see at a usual theatre. It’s seeing a live action radio show that you don’t often get to see performed. It’s definitely worth seeing,” remarks Vonder Harr.

Brody wants all of the cast members to know how impressed she is by their talent and commitment to the theatre, saying, “Overall, I appreciate their energy, enthusiasm and professionalism.”