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Collision: Play Review

With possible future armed security guards coming to campus, Northampton Community

College’s Theatre Department used its latest production to comment on the topic of gun control.

“Collision,” written by Lyle Kessler and directed by Bill Mutimer, is a 90-minute play set on a college campus “somewhere in the heart of America.”

The set was comprised of a gray brick wall backdrop and basic furniture pieces that

represented the inside of a typical dorm room.

Posters displaying images of people like Kurt Cobain and Bob Marley, as well as military slogans and photos of war-stricken areas also adorned the walls of the set. The posters set the atmosphere for lead character Grange, played by Dylan Craig, a freshman Philosophy major with a superiority complex and a dark goal: manipulation and destruction.

The storyline of the play focuses around Grange and three other main characters who find

each other and begin to isolate themselves from the outside world. Grange’s roommate, Bromley; his love interest, Doe and his Philosophy professor end up under his devious spell, and

he convinces them to carry out various acts of violence.

The play ends with the group leaving to commit a mass murder with semi-automatic weapons they stole from a street merchant. This shows how easy it can be for people on a college campus to misuse firearms, and how having the wrong friends can lead to terrible consequences. The story draws parallels to the real-life tale of two high school boys in Columbine, Colorado who killed 12 students and a teacher in a mass shooting in April 1999.

The play is written with a rather poetic, formal type of diction, and it was obvious that

some of the actors struggled slightly with their lines. While they did deliver them loudly enough,

some of the lines were too rushed to be completely understood, particularly in the beginning

scenes.

Each of the main characters broke the fourth wall, a theater term for speaking to the

audience, at different times throughout the piece, but Theatre major Hannah Cummings, who

played Doe, successfully connected with the audience the most during her monologue.

David Lippincott’s performance as professor Denton was also a highlight of the play. The way he successfully delivered the prose-like lines showed the amount of work he put into rehearsing, and his ability to improvise during an unexpected sneeze also showed the level of comfort he had in his role.

The sound and lighting fit well with the piece and the addition of the special window

lighting effect during the night scenes added a nice touch. The prop furniture and knickknacks

set the tone of a college dorm well, and the addition of a tree branch outside the window

successfully conveyed to the audience that the room was on an upper level.

One thing that was not addressed successfully was the stage makeup. According to the

dialogue, professor Denton was an older man with two children, and the addition of a bit of gray hair color or wrinkles on his face would have added to the feel of the character. Lippincott’s acting expressed the age of his character well, but it was obvious that he is a young

college student in real life.

The production successfully conveyed its message of how destructive guns

can be on a college campus. While there were some timing issues with the lines, the audience

seemed to thoroughly enjoy the piece. There was quite a bit of laughter among the crowd of

about 200 during the scenes with the street merchant, and a lot of gasps throughout when Craig’s

character used vulgarity to get his point across. The final scene concluded in a blackout, with the

sounds of screaming people and gunfire filling the theater that left the viewers with a sense of

horror and unease. Although the run of “Collision” closed on Feb. 19, the Theatre

Department has two other upcoming productions remaining this semester. “Buzzer,” March 2-6

in the Norman Roberts Lab Theatre, and “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot,” April 19-22 in The

Lipkin Theatre.