There is no shortage of creativity in the Bellevue College theatre arts department. Endeavoring to impress the audience by constructing a devised theatre piece, the final production was one-of-a-kind. Within this process, each student creator built characters, wrote the script, composed the music and provided creative insight.
The show begins with the discovery of a book of Irish folklore, where an anthropology instructor at a Seattle university first introduces the origins of the entanglement theory. At the beginning of recorded time, three sisters by the names of The Morrigan, Bridghid and Cerridwen were admired for their powers of poetry, music, healing, creation, warfare and transformation. The Morrigan’s boyfriend is jealous of the goddesses’ powers and seeks to steal them for himself. With the help of the druid’s, Bridghid and Cerridwen are tricked and transported to modern day Seattle. The other ancient characters also assume modern forms to track and harness the ancient powers. In a rough part of the city, characters spend their time at the bar, a tattoo parlor, and dabbling in drug transactions.
The set was a necessary component to building a show from scratch. Usage of black light was clever, eerily illuminating the actors on stage. This choice was austere and set the stage for a rather strange piece of theatre. Inhabiting two settings, Ireland of over 3,000 years ago and modern day Seattle, the show was off to an intriguing start. The tattoo parlor had a cool entrance sign, with ‘Phoenix’ emblazoned on black. The bar, called ‘The Hearth,’ featured a blackboard menu and was built on top of a stair structure. Aesthetically pleasing set structures aside, the balance between the two worlds suffered as the play moved on, as plot points and motives became more muddled.
Michael Lacker, Griffin Freese and Cassie Schuster had impressive performances in “Entanglement Theory.” Lacker played the role of Edward, a drug dealer who suffers with an internal ethical battle and refuses to change his ways. Freese played both Bridghid and Brian, a role that required transcendence portraying both a male and female. Schuster, who plays the tattoo artist, grabbed the audience as she despaired at the death of a friend. While some performances excelled, others felt overdone or dry.
The music, although diverse, lacked a core tone or ‘feel’ so essential to a musical. It’s clearly understood that the play jostles between an ancient home of the gods and modern day Seattle, but the music should have bonded these two halves together. The ‘beatboxing’ and most of the rap sequences were weak and didn’t coordinate with the show’s dialogue. However Hannah Coleman as The Morrigan had a strong voice that carried the melodic sequences more successfully.
Perhaps in rehearsal, too many agendas and writing styles got in the way of a clear, cohesive theatre piece. To improve the show, future rehearsals should focus on uniformity and plot clarity. The team will have another two months before “Entanglement Theory” opens again from October 3-5.