Comedy for some, drama for all
December 11, 2011 Leave a comment
by Tyler Turcotte
“Caroline” is a play co-written by juniors Cory Collins and Cameron Lindsey, two Transylvania English majors. Its premiere starred the same duo. The play tells the story of Graham and Coby, two vastly different people who have very little in common with the exception of love for the play’s titular character. Following Caroline’s accidental death, the play examines how a friendship can be affected by the loss of the central unifying factor of that relationship.
With a beginning consisting of two men standing behind a jar of ashes and an ending that contains an incredibly appropriate use of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here,” it was fairly easy to tell that this is quite the sad play. But thankfully, not everything was doom and gloom here. The first half of the play was much more comedic than dramatic, showing two completely different characters come together through their love for Caroline.
Many people will greatly enjoy this first half, which is almost entirely aimed at taking shots at the absurdly dorky character, Graham, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I could have. The problem for me lay in basing all the humor on something predictable, which happened to be the teasing of the nerd for all of his cliché attributes by the also cliché elder character, Coby.
The teasing was fun for a while, but I was groaning by the time Graham was asking for a juice box. Still, the rest of the audience was in constant laughter, so I have no doubts that many will enjoy the comedic first half; it’s just not my sort of humor. Regardless, the characters were undeniably well developed during this lighthearted phase, and without some humor I believe the play’s second half would have been much less effective.
After all the fun and games are over, the play had a very obvious climax, which was stunning from both writing and technical aspects. Throughout the play the lighting was spectacular, subtle and effective, but during the play’s climax it managed to make it feel like there were five or six actors on stage when, in actuality, there were still only two.
The writing was fantastic, and the plot itself was very moving and emotional from this point on. After the climax, the play did a complete 180, and any sense that this play might be a comedy was thrown out the window.
It was here, in the dreadful silent moments and the screaming rage, that the play was at its best. Pure emotion, wonderful acting and excellent writing made this an incredibly effective dramatic sequence that somehow managed to avoid the cliché found in the first half, and deliver a memorable analysis of obsession and coping with loss through the heartbroken characters. In the long run, the post-climax sequences were the things that make the play successful and special.
Multiple times during the play I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could actually see Caroline instead of merely hearing about her?” It wasn’t until the play’s dramatic ending that I realized the reason for leaving her out of the play.
With Caroline’s physical absence, her character was given no chance to be judged by the audience, no chance to be ridiculed or seen as imperfect; in Graham’s and Cody’s eyes, she is perfection, and that’s what she needs to be for the play to be effective. By not giving her a physical presence, it raised the question that the characters might not be in love with Caroline, but instead with the idea of her, which was what the audience got to see.
Overall, I felt that this was a great play, and a very impressive one given the fact that the authors are still students. While the first half’s comedy may not work for everyone, the play’s dramatic second half is sure to move you and create a lasting impression. Congratulations on a success, guys.