Category: PENANCE: The Ghost of Don Juan (5)
To conclude the spring semester, the Montclair State BA Theatre Studies Class of 2012 performed a new show called PENANCE: The Ghost of Don Juan. The play was created in collaboration with the cast, which helped make it modern and relevant. PENANCE explored the Don Juan archetype: a man who seduces women. It featured a robot version of Don Juan who is programmed only to seduce women, which takes out any psychological reason for Don Juan to be womanizer. PENANCE had a strong theme of sexual attraction and sexual pleasure—even a theme of rape.
My favorite scene was a monologue in which a man talked about how we all follow the same script in relationships, and about the consequent lack of uniqueness. PENANCE was a mixture of drama and comedy, as well as movement transitions that filled up every second between scenes. I liked this performance because of its relevance to modern relationship issues. The ending of PENANCE was very interesting: each member of the cast made physical contact with a member of the audience, creating a direct connection that was very awkward for some in the audience. I left the show thinking about how sex and physical attraction play an important role in my life.
Jason Balinskas is an undergraduate student at Montclair State, majoring in Communications Studies with a concentration in Public Relations.
Montclair State’s Theatre Studies students recently performed PENANCE: The Ghost of Don Juan, a story that everyone attending college can relate to.
The show opened with a young woman and young man dressed in 18th century clothes. During this scene, the woman poured her heart out about what she was going through at this point in her life. However, the young man said nothing during this scene and throughout the play. This young man was the character Don Juan, who symbolized men throughout time who have broken young women’s hearts. He symbolized all the men in society who look upon women as sex objects.
Throughout the play, the actors kept flashing back to the scene with a talk show host interviewing a Don Juan robot in modern times. When asked how he views women, the student playing the robot responded, “I see them all the same.” The only difference between the talk show host and the robot was that the talk show host yearned to connect with others and form relationships. To me, this referenced the two types of men in society: those who can settle down and have a relationship and those who want to be lifetime bachelors. The show was very unique and addressed important issues that young adults go through while trying to find their identity.
Maxine Mack is an undergraduate student at Montclair State, majoring in Communications Studies with a focus on public relations.
After opening last week, performances of PENANCE: The Ghost of Don Juan continue through Sunday, April 29. In my third and final video installment on the creation of this new production performed by the Montclair State Theatre Studies class of 2012, I spoke with members of the cast during a break from their physically demanding, hypersexual onstage adventures. And now a few words from Gillian Holmes, Victor J. Carinha, and Nicole Grassano!
Beginning April 19, 2012, Montclair State’s Department of Theatre and Dance presents the world premiere of PENANCE: The Ghost of Don Juan, a new work written by Molly Rice and created in collaboration with the Theatre Studies class of 2012. I had the chance to talk with Molly about adapting the Don Juan story for a contemporary context and what the iconic character means to her. Check out the video below for excerpts from our conversation.
Click here for more on PENANCE from director Debbie Saivetz and movement director Heather Benton, at the cast’s initial “theater bootcamp” rehearsals.
Upcoming in April, Montclair State’s Department of Theatre and Dance will present the world premiere of PENANCE: The Ghost of Don Juan, a new work written by Molly Rice and created in collaboration with the Theatre Studies class of 2012. PENANCE, directed by Debbie Saivetz with movement by Heather Benton, will explore the character and archetype of Don Juan and the implications of aggressive sexual appetite in a hyper-sexual world.
In preparation for rehearsals, the Theatre Studies students participated in a two-day “theater boot camp” led by Benton and Saivetz. They explored their own physicality as well as the physicality of others, working together to build a theatrical ensemble that is ready to tackle the epic text of Don Juan. I sat in on five hours of their boot camp session and chatted with Debbie Saivetz and Heather Benton. Watch the clip below to catch a glimpse of this early stage in the development process!