I like to throw a theme behind my writing, especially when it comes to my blogs and features here at Edge Magazine. Lately, it’s been a theme of mental health and movies, the two things I know best.
This week, that theme happens to be a newfound appreciation for theatre. I’ve lately taken a greater interest in writing and performing stand-up comedy. After seeing “Dorian Grey” at Dramashop, I was very excited about this year’s Fringe festival, going as far as performing in the Gannon University Talent Show. But there are two sides to the stage, and it’s about time I try to soak up and appreciate as many shows as I can.
Feb. 5, I saw “A Little Nonsense,” starring Zak Westfall and Managing Editor of Edge Michael Haas. The Green Room at the Schuster Theatre was filled with the audience, and I sat in anticipation, knowing only what Michael had told me about the show. In the time between doors opening and the show starting, Westfall’s “Clown” character sat facing the audience, often engaging them and laughing to himself, staying true to the character.
Enter Haas’ character, “Man,” who appears to be preoccupied and distressed by the clown’s presence. Addressing him directly throughout the show, Man is upset with Clown’s increasingly distracting behaviors and carefree attitude. Man snaps, screaming and nearly assaulting Clown before breaking down and physically leaving the room.
Upon returning, Man has become a second clown, and the two spend plenty of time running around the room, joking and playing with each other and the audience. As time passes, Man has inevitably become a clown himself while Clown has been knocked back into Man’s reality. This switch in characters goes a long way to show the talent of both Westfall and Haas, who until this point had already fully committed to their respective roles. In a dark turn of events, Westfall’s Man attempts to persuade Haas’ Clown to end his own life, before changing his mind. Man (now Clown) ends the show with its mantra, “A little nonsense is relished by the wisest of men.”
Westfall and Haas, along with directors Lauren Loop and Paula Barrett, put on an absolutely stellar show. Originally bringing the script back from the Gannon University Schuster Theatre’s Scotland trip to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the crew did an incredible job of bringing two characters (or are they one?) to life in a somewhat small space. Both Westfall and Haas managed to engage the audience while commenting on the duality of man and telling a sordid tale of mental health. My only regret is not having experienced our university’s theatre program earlier. Don’t be the lazy Netflix-loving fool that I was (or, at least, don’t be as much of one). Make plans to see one or more of the impressive shows that are a part of this year’s Fringe Fest Erie. Visit www.gannon.edu/schustertheatre for more information and a full schedule of show dates and times.