By: Maverick Lynes, Staff Writer
The USM theatre production of Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom is original, violent, abstract and the furthest thing from boring. I can say with full confidence that this play, a mix of comedy and horror, is nothing like something I have seen before.
Neighborhood 3 is a play that is set in a suburban neighborhood and focuses on the teenagers of the community and their new addiction with an online zombie video game. The game uses a GPS to map out the neighborhood and simulate the exact community they live in which the teenagers notice makes the game incredibly realistic. As they go through this game, they realize these zombies also start looking a lot like the parents of the community. The virtual and real world come together, and these teenagers find themselves too invested into the game to see how much it is indeed controlling them.
Perry Fertig (Scenic Design) created a setting that was the most creative I have ever seen in a school production. The setting paired well with the events of the play and complimented the script. The stage construction gave the audience the tools for their imagination to create the surroundings. While not taking attention away from the characters and the storyline; the setting provided a creative background that helped the actors immerse themselves in this neighborhood.
Anna Grywalski who was in charge of costume design did an outstanding job putting the characters in outfits that enhanced the production. The costumes brought out the suburban environment that the play was set in. There is also one costume that looks like it came straight from the movie set of Mad Max, it was unbelievable.
Director Dana Wieluns Legawiec said in the Director’s Note, “I’ve always been a fan of the horror genre,” so there should be no question as to why she chose this particular play. Dana who says she is, “super excited to finally have an audience,” explains how the cast has been working since spring and is feeling optimistic going into opening night. Dana says she hopes the audience, “enjoys the comedy aspect and the creepy aspect.” While creepy may not be a drawing factor to a production, she ensures that there is something for everyone.
Right from the start, you can tell that you aren’t witnessing your average play. The “IRL’s,” (In Real Life) played by, Ricky Brewster, Elizabeth Donato and Emma Zerba, gave the performance a certain mystery to it. These actors provided the play with a certain abstract that was profound.
The main characters played their roles well, enhancing the play and bringing the script to life. Through their actions, they gave the audience the ability to indulge themselves in the performance and for 80 minutes imagine they were in this world the production created.
Griffin Gingrich who played “Son Type” brought an intense tone to the character that I thought fit the role well. When I found out that the original cast member for this role had an unfortunate injury two weeks before opening night and that Griffin only had two weeks to prepare, I was even more in awe if this freshman’s performance.
Savannah Irish who was the role of “Mother Type” says, “This is the most proud of a production I’ve ever been.” Irish brought an elegant comedic tone to the role as well as a few heartbreaking moments, her versatility shined through the role.
Irish hopes that this production causes people to talk to each other more. Throughout the play, there is an apparent lack of communication between characters. While Irish reassures that, “This is an extreme version of lack of communication.” She hopes that this can cause us to reassess how submerged we are into the technological world.
Irish explains how her favorite part of the play is the last scene. I will say that the last scene was done in a remarkably courageous, creative and abstract way that I loved to watch. The director and the performers nailed this ending.
While at times this play was hard to follow, I think it enhanced the play because of how even the characters were having troubles deciphering what the real world was and what was the virtual world. Which made me, as an audience member, feel more connected to the characters as they navigated this new world they were introduced to.
While this may not be the play you bring your Grandma to for her 80th birthday, I believe it is perfect for the targeted demographic of college students. It is theatrical, paralyzing and funny. While at times comical it is was also thought-provoking. This play has something that is bound to peak your interest.
This play runs from Sept. 29 to Oct. 8 in Russell Hall on the Gorham Campus.