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Audience reacts to controversial play

Danny and the Deep Blue Sea is a critically acclaimed masterpiece of modern theatre, delving into the depths of realism.

Some have called it “a Bronx variation on Beauty and the Beast” while others lauded its writer, Academy Award and Pulitzer Prize winner, John Patrick Shanley. But when it came to Eastern, there were mixed reviews – most of them coming from people who had not seen nor read the script, only heard about its contents.

Fortunately, the Eastern student body is a discerning group of individuals who would rather see what all the hub-bub is about for themselves and then make a decision. The reactions were surprising to say the least.

Many professors and staff heaped praise on the drama after reading its script.

“The play is a microcosm of truth and reconciliation processes at their best,” said Betsy Morgan, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

While students waited in the audience for the lights to dim and the actors to perform, many said they heard good things and were excited.

“I am expecting a phenomenal show,” senior playwright Ben Hennesy said.

Still others voiced their concern saying “I’m not really sure what to expect,” and, “I know I’m going to see something that I might not want to.”

But when the actors took stage, the audience assumed the solemn attitude of a jury witnessing a defendant for the first time.

A handful of students winced as the first of the f-bombs were dropped, and looks of disgust appeared on many faces whenever violence ensued.

Although the students in the audience disliked the pain they were witnessing, the play’s realism placed them in a world few of them had experienced.

The reaction to this immersing was peculiar. Sometimes the audience was shocked into silence, while other times, as if it could not wait for the catharsis to purge its feelings, would laugh at completely inappropriate things.

It was not until the brilliantly executed sensual scene, that the audience relinquished its preconceived notions of how things should be and simply followed the plot as it was presented.

As dialogue and plot whipped across the stage, students looked on intently, instead of cringing at the play’s depiction of reality. They had become willing participants in the two-way street that is drama.

The result was nothing short of magical revelation. When the lights came back up, the audience erupted into a frenzy of applause.

“It was amazing,” junior Becky Semple said.

“Fan-freakin-tastic,” sophomore Jon Finn said. “Both actors did an amazing job.”

Needless to say, the skepticism of some became the delight of many. Certainly, a handful of audience members were still unsure of what to think, but in the realm of drama, there is nothing wrong with being lost in the thought provoking questions presented by theater.

It was without a doubt a proud moment in the life of Eastern’s theatre department as well as a revelatory evening for its exuberant audience.

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