Opening night review:”7 Minutes to Midnight”

By Emma Sargeant.
Fearful Greek gods set the Doomsday Clock for “7 Minutes to Midnight” in BCC’s newest drama production which opened on November 14 at the Stop Gap Theatre.
The theatre was filled with an audience anticipating the first drama collaboration with the science department. The devised piece, directed by Dennis Schebetta, uses the greek myth of the god Kronos who devoured his own children in fear of losing his reign and was associated with ruling over human time, as well as self-destruction. After being betrayed by his wife who hid his son Zeus from being eaten, he set the clock for Doomsday. The script creatively weaves Kronos’ power of destruction with nuclear devastation from the 1940’s to present day. Clare Honn played the role of a little girl with a pen pal in Hiroshima, relaying back and forth the American perspective of the war with the Japanese point-of-view.
Nate Jensen portrayed Kronos with power, charm and wit, reacting with bitter cruelty to the betrayal of his wife played by Brittany Reinholz. Reinholz was sympathetic to her role as a wife and mother and comfortably became the part, engaging the audience with her sincere expressions and was fluent with her lines. Cady Smola, projected well, used powerful movement for her characters of a scientist and 1950’s mother. Zack Smith was at ease with his character, the “father of the atomic bomb”. Chris Trover, the General, broke into a hip-hop song and rapped the issues and powers of propaganda affecting the fears of the people. Sean Altuna and Kelsey Maher supported the cast contributing as scientists and victims of the atomic bomb.
“7 Minutes to Midnight” informs the audience of the consequences of the mushroom cloud, the fire of the atomic bomb, changing the lives of the people in Hiroshima in the 1940’s and projecting fear to the people in 1990 with the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the rise of communism in the Soviet Union. The devised piece highlights the confusion of not knowing when the Doomsday Clock will hit midnight while questioning existentialism.
The production was overwhelming with a variety of elements including song and interpretive movement which came across hesitantly from the actors. Light and set designer, Brian Healy, enhanced the stage with photographic flashes to shock the audience with the idea of the sudden light of nuclear destruction, which also drew attention away from the uncertain chaos of the script. The set was designed for rapid change for the actors to make a fluid transition of being victims to playing the roles of Greek mythology which reminds the audience of human nature’s pattern of self-destruction. In the director’s notes, Schebetta reminds the reader that Kronos lurks in each of us, waiting to be released. He directed the cast to cause havoc towards the play’s end to remind the audience the clock is ticking, the end is unknown, and fear is strong. The fear provokes the characters to ask, “How do know if we are alive?”
“7 Minutes to Midnight” was thought provoking. The devised piece was a bold choice of style to highlight human damage and the fear of reality. Opening night started with slight nerves but BCC’s drama department presented a unique production with a talented cast. Tickets are $10 for BCC students and employees and are available from www.brownpapertickets.com. The next show will be November 20 at the Stop Gap Theatre.

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