Reviewed by Lory Martinez
The Binghamton University Theatre Department’s final 2013 studio plays, presented this past weekend (May 10-12), ended the semester in a brilliantly lighthearted way. Christopher Durang’s For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls, directed by Gabriela Mrvov, and Sam Wolfson’s Boy Meets Girl: A Young Love Story, directed by Arshia Panicker, were perfectly matched pieces. I attended the closing night of both productions.
For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls, a parody of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, is the story of Amanda, a mother trying to get her son to become a functioning member of society. If she can marry him off, she is free to live her own life.
Eyliza Morciglio, who played Amanda, was certainly the star of the show. Everything from her accent to the way she carried herself on stage highlighted her natural talent. Samuel Checo played Lawrence, a boy obsessed with glass swizzle sticks. Even though the dynamic between these two was heart-breaking – the sadness one feels for Amanda and her disabled/misunderstood son is a little overwhelming at times — the show kept a happy spirit. Erik Young as Amanda’s other son, Tom, was equally amusing to watch on stage, even when showing both love and disdain for his family.
And of course, who could forget the unwanted lover, Ginny (Tori Van Auken), a girl whose factory job left her deaf. The misunderstandings that arose out of her inability to hear anything anyone said in each scene were the “icing on the cake” for this lovely parody play.
After Southern Belle, audiences migrated to another studio to watch Boy Meets Girl, starring Adriana Caminero as Katie and Joseph Carter as Sam. The two played love-struck kindergarteners for this adorable story of firsts. The pair ends up together despite the trials and tribulations of childhood misunderstandings and first broken hearts.
Caminero beamed on stage as she professed her character’s strong “like” for Sam, with echoes of the same spirit I first noted in her last role as Ma in The Happy Journey from Trenton to Camden. She shone on stage as a child does, with impossible light and meaning. Her counterpart matched her spark perfectly. I’d never seen Carter on stage before and, I must say, I’d love to see more of his work.
I, like many others, left the theater with a smile on my face, happily remembering the performance with the same lightness with which it was presented.