I was excited to hear that the Pierrettes had chosen “On the Verge” written by Eric Overmyer for their fall play, because I had heard that it was about three time-traveling Victorian women. I was hoping it might be some sort of Doctor Who/steampunk mix, but I honestly had no idea of what to expect when I walked in.
As I entered the theater, I noticed something unusual. The theater, usually black, had been painted a yellow-white color, and atop it was a giant wooden book. Three hats and corresponding umbrellas lay haphazardly across the book, and tribal-like music played in the background as the audience took their seats.
It began with Mary (Margaret Stringer), Fanny (Rachel “Spira” Baker), and Alexandra (Casey Oliver) coming on stage dressed in traditional 19th century dresses. They were talking about adventuring alone without male help (something unusual in the 19th century). In fact, they often stated throughout the play that they did not need or want a man’s assistance. Stringer even described a moment where she, using her skirt as a floatation device, had floated in quicksand while her male porters sank to their deaths right beside her.
The three did a lot of adventuring throughout the play, but I was not quite sure where or through what; with every step they seemed to be traveling across time and space. I am still not sure how they managed to time-travel. Even though there were many scene changes, there were not many prop and set piece changes, and the audience was left trying to muddle through just where Stringer, Baker, and Oliver were.
However, when set pieces were brought on stage, it added to the confusion. It seemed as if the changing of the set was supposed to be seen by the audience. For example, Gus, a teenage gas station worker played by first-year Kerri Hughes, was seen in one scene leading the tech crew on stage with exaggerated movements. This was confusing because in most plays, the set changes are done when the curtain is down.
Even though there were a few issues with the set and plot, all of the actresses performed incredibly well. There was a moment when Oliver was speaking and seemed to forget her line, but if she did, she played it off so well that I could not tell if she was actually stumbling over a line or if it was just her character being ditzy as she frequently was.
I was particularly impressed with Stringer, Baker, and Oliver’s monologues. My favorite was the one Stringer performed on loofahs. I could not stop laughing. Also, I loved the portrayal of the cannibal by first-year Kristen Rosten. Their reenactment of the cannibal eating Alfonse was extremely humorous.
The play as a whole was amusing, and both the actresses and tech crew did a great job. It made me excited to see how the Pierrettes are going to handle their spring musical, Grease. I know I will be in the audience to see it first-hand.
By Em Ramser