Monday, January 22nd, 2018

King of Crows IV

Posted on November 12, 2016 in Arts & Culture
By USM Free Press

By Matthew Craig, Free Press Arts and Culture Editor

On Thursday, September 8, the crowbait club put on their King of Crows IV: All Hail the King, a selection of 10 shorts written and performed by members of the Crowbait Club. Each short was about ten minutes long. The Crowbait Club, a non-profit arts & culture club focused around theatre, currently has over 30 members and was officially incorporated as a non-profit in the state of Maine in July of 2015.

The goal of the Crowbait Club is to “inspire, nurture, educate, and empower artists and audiences, thereby enriching and celebrating the Maine arts community and the culture of the community at-large,” and provides many actors and writers in Maine the opportunity to practice their crafts with their peers and before a crowd.

Every first wednesday of each month, the club has a meeting, called a Theatre Deathmatch, in which 10 original plays written by members are performed, also by members. The audience votes on which play they like best, and only one is crowned victorious. This event, King of Crows, is special because it consists only of fully produced performances of only the victorious plays from throughout the year.

The ten plays this year vary widely in theme and style, but are mostly rooted in comedy. The first, A Blonde Shock by Howard Rosenfield chronicles the life and legacy of one Sheila, who, even at birth, possessed a characteristic “shock of blonde hair.” The literary motif of her shock of blonde hair, along with that of her suitors asking her father for her hand in marriage, reappears throughout the play for comedic effect. This relieves darker elements in the plot for a fine balance between silly and serious.

The sixth, entitled The Interview by David Body, explores a very interesting topic, that of demographical characteristics in the workplace. The un-named interviewer is instructed by her department head to conduct an interview online, in which the interviewee is unseen and the interviewee’s voice is masked. This piece plays on the fact that, in professional settings, it is not considered appropriate to ask about things like ethnicity and religion. The audience is left thinking about the importance of such things, and why people concern themselves with them.

The final performance, All American Girls by Elizabeth Freeman, tackles a universal issue among sexually frustrated young males. The play chronicles the experience of a man who loses out in a game of love to two foreigners who, in a surprising and comical twist, turn out to not be foreign at all. Despite the protagonist’s frustration with their silly game, he ends up joining them.

In between each act, the stage crew came up on stage to clear props as the musicians, Lulu and the Murder Band, play a number that segways into the next piece. Rachel Friedman and Adam Ferguson, the two vocalists, also act in several of the plays. This made for an interesting continuity between cast and crew.

The King of Crows IV was inspirational to say the least. Callie Cox, the stage manager, loves the way that Crowbait Club brings together so many “crazy people from different walks of life… together,” and that shows in the final product of the King of Crows. For people interested in theater, or who are looking for something a little different from auditioning for community theatre productions, the Crowbait Club will welcome you with open wings to a theatrical deathmatch.