Tallgrass Gothic Analysis

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Emily Lawless Professor Julian Theatre 3 April 2017 Tallgrass Gothic Critique The production Tallgrass Gothic, directed by Melanie Marnich, takes its name from the Gothic novel popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, a fictional romance tale characterized by an atmosphere of mystery and horror. In this production, theater students of The University of California State-Fullerton put on an extremely successful show, demonstrating the issues of lust, desire, boredom, sexuality, loneliness, marriage, and religion set in the middle of Nowhere, Oklahoma. At the center of the story is Laura, whose need to leave her small, rural home and controlling husband is sparked when she falls in love with a man who offers her escape and a future. The costumes,…show more content…
The stage was set up in modern day arena style, meaning the audience surrounded the stage area on all sides. The theater was dimly lit, as it remained for the entirety of the 80 minute long production which contributed to the overall feel.The play was to be set in the middle of nowhere in Oklahoma and the cast members did a great job of making that apparent. The scenes rotated between the house of whom Laura and her abusive husband lived, the church where Laura, her lover, her husband, her best friend, and two other friends would see each other, a place in town where Laura would secretly meet up with her lover, and lastly, a space where the men would meet up to talk about Laura’s adulteress behavior. Each time the scene changed the audience was well aware because the cast members would chime in with the wind blowing sound effects. A projector displayed the images of each background for the audience to get more of an idea of how old and withered the town appeared at each place. For the church, it was the stained glass windows, at Laura’s house, she was on her bed, for her places of adultery, it was a couch, and each time the men would talk they sat on logs outside together. One thing that was noticeably ironic was that the drama was set in the middle of nowhere. Basically meaning, the town was lost, and the irony in that was, each member appeared to…show more content…
Not one character wore any color other than neutral which was a key contribution to the gothic idea. The color of everything on set was symbolic and correlated with the gothic atmosphere was well. The costumes were a great representation of what the lifestyle was like in the town. The most symbolic of all was Laura’s. She wore a floor length loose gown which she put on to cover her sins, yet still accentuated her womanly assets which most men in the town knew her for. When she committed her acts of adultery, or was abused by her husband, she was seen in a still dark colored risque sleep set. Her costume was an important factor for her character because she didn’t want people to see her as an adulteress even though she committed multiple scandalous acts continuously throughout the production. Even when she downright wished death upon another being, she simply put her dress back on to hide from being haunted by her terrors and played the

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