Insect Comedy swarms into Porter Theatre
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Adding to the long line of experimental work produced by the Westmont theatre department, John Blondell brought “The Insect Comedy” to Porter theatre last Friday night.
Starring second-year Chloe Burns as a curious vagrant, the play follows her “Alice in Wonderland”-style adventures into the colorful and frightening world of insects. Introducing world-dominating ants, sensual butterflies and sassy larvae, “The Insect Comedy” merges the human and insect realms into a performance that asks big questions about the nature of family, power and even death.
However, no winged or multi-legged creatures in this play actually appear. Instead, costume designer Miller James has transported the cast back to the stylish world of the ’50s and ’60s by dressing bugs as go-go dancers and housewives.
Combined with a stage designed by Danila Korogodsky, who likewise designed the set for last year’s award-winning production of “Pirates of Penzance,” audiences are graced with a fanciful interpretation of this human-bug interaction. With moving human figures and a platform that juts out into the audience, “The Insect Comedy” proves what many of the cast have joked about the entire theatre department: “We can never do anything normal!”
But eccentricity is just one of the many things that makes stage performances a beloved part of the Westmont arts. For second-year Mia Altman, who opened the show, being a part of a production by John Blondell is about making art that moves and affects people. “He has so much creative vision and being able to participate in that is exciting,” she said. “Plus, he makes important things, and he makes you feel like you’re making important things.”
Audience members felt the same pull towards heavy topics. Third-year Jordan Peterson described “The Insect Comedy” as “satirical, wonderfully over-the-top and very existential...the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve gotten out of it.”
Yet, with a play that has so much insect death and tragedy in it, there was also something wildly humorous about translating bug life into a narrative. Third-year Bethany Baca, who played the part of Mrs. Cricket, said, “My favorite part was my onstage death by shoe. It allowed me to be both silly and bring my own personality to the role.” For her and other cast members, “The Insect Comedy” was an opportunity to step out of their comfort zones and experiment with bringing character and personality to the world of bugs.
A thought-provoking joy to watch, “The Insect Comedy” will hopefully become one of Westmont’s legendary performances. With many thanks to the help of WCSA, 50 free tickets have been made available to the student body to go watch the show. With only three performances left, make sure to go see it this coming weekend on Thursday, March 5, at 8:00 p.m., Friday, March 6, at 8:30 p.m., or Saturday, March 7, at 2 p.m.