Praise for Big Fish

If you keep up with the Waltonian regularly (as I know you all do), then you might know that I wrote an article, “Big Splash For Big Fish,” promoting the show before its opening day. While reflecting on the sentiments expressed, I realize that the article did not properly do the production justice. This musical put on by Eastern University was a pleasure to watch and filled with beautiful moments, costumes and singing. It far exceeded my expectations and it engendered in me a sense of pride knowing that such a production was put on by my peers.

The play was very reminiscent of “Our Town” in its setting of the stage. There was nothing particularly defining about it or indicative of any particular place, though the setting was split between New York and Alabama with most of it taking place in the latter. It was a rustic set with a large wall of pallets serving as the backdrop which fit the atmosphere and filled the room with its presence. This small town feel was further enhanced by the lovely Southern accents used by a few actors throughout the play. It should not be said that the set was boring in any way though, the props brought on stage and the rolling bed brought the scenes to life. One particular scene that I enjoyed was the circus with the colorful lights, stilt-walking giant and dancing.

A large part of the musical was dedicated to the songs which were performed with excellence by the performers. In addition to the music, one surprising element of the play was the fanciful dancing that graced the stage. From a mermaid in the corner to a whole circus, the dancing present enhanced the lively atmosphere. This was not only impressive but a pleasant union between the dance and theater department. 

Having seen the play now, I can now say that the story driving “Big Fish” forwards is more touching and heartbreaking than ever imagined. In addition to this, the genuine performances put on by the actors brought the story to life and strengthened the messaging of the play. Not only did the reconciliation between Will (Luke Baker) and his father, Edward (Richie Izzo), bring tears to the eyes, but the anguish felt by all the characters at various moments was unbearable in some ways. The character of Edward grows not only in stature, but in his character as it becomes more and more clear that he is a good man. Even in the moments of doubt, his charisma and disposition lend towards his innocence from all accusations of wrongdoing. The stress and anguish is often felt by Will throughout the play. His character is not just a callus son who rejects his father outright, the struggle was felt on the stage. 

The entire play wasn’t all stressful or upsetting. There were many moments of beautiful interaction accented by melodious tunes that were stuck in my head for days. Touching moments were found in the soulful pursuit of Edward’s wife. His determination engendered a feeling of awe and hope in their eventual love. Another beautiful moment was the closing song in which Will sang with the reprise of “Be the Hero” and echoed his fathers words in light of his death. 

One thing that was done during this production exceptionally well was the use of the pallet-backed bed that emerged from the backdrop and became a main prop on the stage. This was a creative use of the backdrop and made for seamless transitions and fun scene changes. Overall, the whole stage in many of the scenes was filled with fun props and great stage design.

This production was a great success and did a great job at promoting the Arts. Eastern continues to impress after their past few productions and it leaves much to be expected of future productions.

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