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The Suppliants by Jaylen, Shreya, and Kenzie

Posted by on Sunday, April 14, 2019 in Blog posts.

The Suppliants was performed by VUT on April 4, 5, 6, and 7th at Neely Auditorium. The audience was made up of Vanderbilt students, as well as some faculty and family. Shreya, Jaylen, and Kenzie met in Rand Lounge to discuss the performance.


Kenzie is a sophomore in the college of engineering and is majoring in computer science. She is involved with VOB, Change++, and Zeta Tau Alpha. In her free time, she likes to play Bananagrams and listen to show tunes.


Jaylen is a sophomore in the college of arts and sciences as a Creative Writing major. He is on the executive board of ALAS and the rugby team, and he is a member of Lambda Chi Alpha. He spends his free time writing poetry or binging Netflix TV shows.


Shreya is a senior in Peabody College and is double majoring in Child Development and Cognitive Studies. She is on the board of Original Cast as Publicity Director as well as the executive board of Vanderbilt Performing Arts Community. She is also involved in VUT and VOB. Her favorite TV show is Friends, and she really loves pandas, in fact, she loves them so much that she has a tattoo of the World Wildlife panda.


KM: We all saw The Suppliants last weekend, so what were your initial thoughts on the show?


JM: Well, I feel that the show felt a lot longer than it actually was. It was kind of boring actually.


KM: Yeah, I agree. Why do you think that is?


SK: I think maybe just because of the topics it covered. I feel like with comedies, shows go by quickly, but The Suppliants was a lot more serious.


JM: Yeah, it’s definitely easier to keep track of performances when there’s a lot of action going on, like in tragedies or comedies, to keep you engaged, which wasn’t really the case with this show. I definitely lost place of what was going on at some points.


KM: There were just so many silences during it. I was like, where is the dialogue! And I know I shouldn’t feel that way because I do theatre and I know I should appreciate and take in those moments when there is a purposeful silence… Another reason I wanted to hear more dialogue was because the actors were all so talented that I wanted to see them perform with both their actions and their words.


SK: Exactly! It was like there were 10 minutes of silence and it took so long.


KM: What do you think the point of the silence was then?


JM: Maybe… reflection?


SK: Yeah, I think because they gave us that time to vote at the end, they wanted to give us time to reflect. With other shows, that don’t have audience interaction, you don’t need as much time to think about what’s going on.


JM: And they broke the 4th wall a lot, which was really interesting.


SK: Yeah, I would say that is not that common especially when considering the length of time that it was broken for. For example, when thinking about the Broadway musical The Lion King the fourth wall is broken at the beginning of the show when the cast members enter from the audience but only really for five minutes.


KM: Yeah that was so interesting when the three main girls in The Suppliants came into the audience! I totally noticed them go into seats, and could tell they were performers in the show but wasn’t sure if they were supposed to go unnoticed or if we were supposed to know they were there.


JM: I definitely think they were supposed to be noticed. Going back to the root of the story, it makes us realize that they could be us. Like, going back to the overall refugee/immigrant theme, the girls being parts of the audience makes it seem like it’s a universal thing. Plus, with the numbers and everything, it kind of feels like it’s the point.


A pause.


SK: What did you guys think of the set? I thought it was pretty bare especially for a typical VUT show.


KM: I think the set was purposefully empty so that we had to focus on the actors and their actions as opposed to what was around them. When I got to the theatre and sat in the audience, I was like, “wait, where’s the set?”. But quickly after the show started, I realized that the minimalism made us focus more on the meaning instead of flashy set or costume pieces to distract us.


JM: I definitely agree, there was no other place to look but at the people.


A pause.


KM: How did you guys feel as members of the audience?


SK: I honestly didn’t like it, I was not a fan of the show.


KM: Is it because of the performers or the show itself?


SK: I think the performers were great and did a fantastic job, and Jonathan (the director) clearly did a great job… But as a whole, I didn’t like the aesthetic of the play. I understood the parallel made between the girls leaving to go to Argos so they could not be forced into marriage and the refugee crisis, but I didn’t necessarily enjoy it.


JM: Yeah, as I said, the show felt a lot longer than it actually was just because the pauses made it seem a little more choppy, and it kind of felt like there was not a lot happening.


KM: I agree. I didn’t love the show, but I think it wasn’t meant to be all for entertainment and fun. I think it was supposed to teach us about what refugees go through. When they would show the statistics on the board, I felt that was super powerful. … What did you guys think of those statistics that were projected? How did they make you feel?


SK: I mean, I feel like I had the reaction that I was supposed to have. I didn’t look at the numbers and be like oh wow that sucks, *a laugh*, I had the sympathetic reaction that I was supposed to have.


JM: I felt the same way, and thought that my sad feelings were forced. Like they wanted me to be shocked and sad when seeing those numbers, and I did… Something about it was unnatural.


A pause.


JM: So, I know Essin asks this question a lot, but why now?


SK: That is Essin’s favorite question.


*laughs from all*


KM: I think with the challenging political climate right now, VUT probably wanted to do a production that had a more extensive meaning than a typical play. With Trump as president, and his constant tweets on and thoughts about refugees, I think it makes sense to do this play now.


JM: I think it can also go back to, like, the ICE kids. We have immigrant children locked in wire fence cages, and it’s dealing with the inhumanity. Like the play, it’s a question of acceptance and questioning of immigrants and refugees that happens in the U.S. today and in Argos for the play.


SK: I know we’ve talked about this in class before, but I think the Vanderbilt bubble is definitely a real thing, and whether I enjoyed it or not, having VUT perform this now, made people pay attention to it. In the Vandy bubble, people just pay attention to friends and school, and I know that I personally don’t have time to read the news every day, but this show made me more educated on the topic and definitely made me think.


KM: I agree with you Shreya, and I think that that is probably precisely what VUT wanted us to feel. Even though we may not have loved the show, the fact that it made us think about what’s happening in the world around us was probably the whole point of doing it.


JM: Skipping to the end of the show, what did you guys think about the voting at the end? I feel that it was the first time I was engaged as an audience member during the show.


SK: Yeah, they did the voting, and then the show was basically over. There were just a few lines at the end.


JM: Exactly, which made it the most impactful part of the play for me.


SK: I thought it was interesting that some people voted no… the fact that there were people who said no, made me go home and think about it more.


KM: I actually was sitting with some friends in the audience who voted no because they thought it was funny… I think they just wanted to mess with their friends who were performing in the show.


JM: Yeah, a lot of people really don’t seem to take theatre seriously…


KM: True, it’s really frustrating sometimes, especially as a member of the Vanderbilt Performing Arts Community…


A pause.


KM: What did you guys think about the length of the show? We were just saying how the voting happened at the end. Were y’all surprised when the show ended right after that?


JM: Kind of, because theatre usually runs two to two-and-a-half hours, so, even though it felt longer, to have a 45-ish minute play was kind of mind-boggling, it kind of emphasized the finality of the vote and how it affects the outcome of the play.  


SK: I was actually helping out with the show for a while. I was on the hair and makeup crew until the director, Jonathon, decided he didn’t want any hair and makeup. So I was well aware that the show was short, 37 minutes to be specific. And in the shop, I knew the set was going to be super bare… I really just knew everything that was going to happen, and because I knew it was going to be short, I just kept waiting for the end. I think knowing too much about the production made the experience less enjoyable for me in the end.


KM: That’s super interesting! I didn’t know anything about the show going in, except for the fact that it would be short. I feel you Shreya, and I think that knowing the length made it feel longer.


SK: Is there anything else you guys thought was engaging about the production?


KM: I thought it was fascinating how that one blonde boy played so many different roles. He was supposed to be representing the feelings of the community, so I thought it was fascinating how he was the only one who played those roles. Why not have 5 people act as the community instead of one? I feel as though that could have made the hatred from the community more powerful.


SK: Yeah, I understand how when Jonathan wanted a minimalist set and minimalist costumes he probably also wanted a small cast, but I think having Lucas play all of these different roles only resulted in confusion. Overall, it just distracted me from fully understanding the parallel being made between the girls traveling to Argos and refugees which was meant to be the point of the play.


JM: I honestly didn’t really notice his character much. I just got distracted a lot during the show and accidentally spaced out. I seriously think having more dialogue would have made it more engaging, and believe it could have been written in a way that kept the meaning but had more conversation.


KM: So I feel like all our criticism is really coming from the play itself, and not the quality of the performance. I personally think all of the actors did a great job and was impressed by their abilities. It wasn’t that I disliked the show at all, it was clearly directed well and had talented actors. It was just hard to pay attention the whole time.


SK: I definitely agree with that — when I was engaged I enjoyed the performance. The main issue I had was just that the play didn’t really manage to keep me engaged for a good portion of it.


JM: Yeah, I definitely think there was a clear focus and intent for the play in the context of today, and the actors were great; my main problem was just losing my attention too fast because of the silences, among other things. However, being in the audience, surrounded by other Vanderbilt students did make me think about the importance of social issues around us, and how we as a community should be educated about them.


20 Comments on “The Suppliants by Jaylen, Shreya, and Kenzie”

I’m not sure the point of the play is to teach us to empathize with refugees. Of course, it’s an important part of the plot, but if we want to know why this play now, it’s important to recognize that the audience of this play isn’t paralleled in the performance by the Suppliants. We’re the King of Argos, and we have a difficult decision to make with so many refugees coming to America. Taking in refugees isn’t easy, and integrating them will be difficult. I think this play needed to be performed now though because it teaches a lesson about sacrificing in order to do the right thing. The King of Argos chooses to protect the women, knowing full well what it might cost him. He puts human rights before his own immediate benefit, and I feel that that is the message VUT wanted to communicate at this exact moment.

Cameron Nix on April 15th, 2019 at 12:00 pm

I really enjoyed watching The Suppliants and reading Jaylen, Shreya, and Kenzie’s response. However, I disagree with Jaylen’s opinion that the show felt a lot longer than it actually was. To me, the play seemed incredibly short. It was a short play, only about an hour long, but I was shocked when the play came to an end as it had felt like only about half an hour to me. I think that one of the reasons I was so drawn into the play and it seemed to go by so fast was because the play really drew the audience in. It was a small theater and I was able to feel very connected to the performers because of this. As the actors walked, crawled, and stood around the room and within the audience, it really seemed like the audience became part of the show. We actually did become part of the performance at one point, as Shreya points out. This occurred when we were asked to vote if the refugees should stay or leave the community. This was my favorite part of the performance as I thought this was really creative and unique. Unlike what is indicated in the response, I actually appreciated the silence during the play. I think this is because I grew up watching silent movies, so I have grown to really enjoy silent performances as it allows me to pay more attention to the actors’ movements and physical actions. I liked the idea that Jaylen had that the refugee actors walking into the audience could represent how universal this issue really is. This was a really interesting point and something that I did not consider prior to reading this response. Finally, I also agree with the response in which Shreya, Kenzie, and Jaylen discuss the reasons why Vanderbilt chose to do this play now. Vanderbilt does feel like a bubble and this performance allows Vanderbilt students to become educated about what is happening outside of this bubble and in the real world. I think that this is the biggest reason I enjoyed this play, because it reminded me of the issues around the globe that are often shielded from Vanderbilt students.

Gabriella Blum on April 16th, 2019 at 9:15 pm

I appreciatted this groups points on the reason this play was choose for Vanderbilt at this moment. Vanderbilt can becaome a place where students get lost and don’t unsertand or see what is going on outside of campus. This play does a good job of informing students of issues affecting others around the world. I also enjoy when plays break the 4th wall, it helps keep the audience engaged and helps performers have a different experience each time they perform even if they are performing the same piece.

Joseph Toye on April 18th, 2019 at 12:32 pm

The play was really short to me but very boring as they all stated above. The play was not up my alley in which they were breaking the fourth wall and engaging with the audience more than I am use to. I agree with what Jaylen said it was hard for Meryle to stay focus on the play because there wasn’t much action or dialogue to keep the play flowing. With them stopping the play and having the audience reflect on what is going on really made it hard for me to get interested in the play. When I did get in engaged I was not engaged for a long time because of the pauses and reflection times they let the audience have. I have no idea really what the whole play was about because could barely keep my eyes on the stage. Most of the play like they said above I was spaced out to where I didn’t even know who was on stage and who was who.

Jackson Winrow on April 18th, 2019 at 3:49 pm

For me personally, I grew up going to Disney World at lot and seeing productions put on by Disney. Because of this, I am used to extravagant productions with interesting costumes, sets, music, lights, and spectacles. I personally enjoy these types of productions better because I find it more enjoyable when I am laughing and in awe of what is happening on stage. My experience watching this play was very similar to Jaylens in that I thought it lasted way longer than it actually did and I was bored throughout. I found that the simplicity of the set and costumes caused me to be disinterested in watching the play, and the silences just added on to me being even more disengaged. I completely understand and appreciate the message that VUT was sending with this play, because I too agree with Shreya that in this Vandy bubble we tend to not be aware of some of the issues going on in the world around us. However, I also agree with Jaylen that because of the silences for reflection, the emotions evoked in the play felt somewhat forced and ultimately just left more time for me to become disinterested/bored. Finally, I found Shreya’s perspective on this play to be interesting because she made the comment that she knew exactly what to expect of this play beforehand. Because of this and her being into theatre, she was able to appreciate how minimalistic the play was as well as the quality of the performer’s acting more than others might have. For me, I was not expecting how simple everything was and did not consider that these choices were made for an intended purpose.

Virginia Green on April 18th, 2019 at 5:32 pm

I disagree with Shreya’s comment about knowing too much beforehand when you go to see a show. In the same way I will listen to a soundtrack before I go to see a show, I like to research at least the premise of a show before I go to see it so I am not lost. I definitely needed some background on the show and to discuss it with cast and crew members beforehand to get a good grasp. I think some background would have prepared the other commenters and Jaylen to enjoy the show. I think you are more likely to enjoy a performance if you show up prepared to enjoy it, rather than going into every performance and expecting a big production. That being said, I found the pauses engaging rather than boring. The three main actors especially were stellar, and you were able to feel their pain and the urgency of their situation. I think the voting forced you to engage with the play seriously, even if you had not up to that point. You have to at least consider the issue of refugees once in order to cast your vote, even if you chose to be a jerk and vote no.

Lily Jaremski on April 21st, 2019 at 7:28 am

Jaylen, Shreya, and Kenzie had an engaging discussion of The Suppliants that brought up several interesting points. The thought that resonated with me the most was their discussion at the end of the dialogue. I was similarly bored and distracted during this performance. I found myself feeling uncomfortable and even annoyed rather than reflective during the long pauses, and it just felt as though they were trying to drag out the performance for no reason. While I understand the purpose of the message and can now see the point they were trying to make, it felt ineffective to me, and clearly others agreed. Further, the intense minimalism of the set made it even more difficult to focus, as there was not much to keep the audience engaged. But it is important to remember that it was the play itself that didn’t interest me, and I need to separate the content of the play from the people performing it. The cast was extremely talented, but for someone who does not attend many theatrical performances, I found it difficult to make the important distinction between performance and script. Reading through this discussion was a good reminder to give the theatre a chance, and just because I didn’t enjoy one performance does not mean that I won’t enjoy another one. I also agreed that attending this performance was an important reminder of the presence of the Vandy bubble and how important it is to remain engaged in the rest of the world even though it may be easier to just focus on, as Shreya noted, friends and school. In the end, although the performance may not have been the best, it still delivered an important message to the Vanderbilt student body.

Brigid Brennan on April 21st, 2019 at 4:23 pm

I very much agree with the comments Kenzie, Jaylen and Shreya brought up regarding the performance of the Suppliants. One of the main aspects of their discussion I resonated with was in how the minimalism of the performance lended itself to the message that was trying to be conveyed, but also made it lacking in the entertainment of the performance, making it less exciting for the audience to watch. One of the major point we have talked about over the course of the semester is “Why this play now?” and I think they hit the discussion of this spot on, in todays political climate the topic of immigrants and refugees is a widely debated issue and often times in the Vanderbilt bubble we lose sight of issues like this. That being said, I also see the other side of the debate, that the minimalism of the performance made it difficult to even internalize this meaning, because as an audience, it made it a bit boring and unexciting to watch. I think this lends with knowing the audience- likely a lot of college students would prefer to watch a high energy performance than a minimalistic one. While this is true, I do think the performers did a great job and skillfully conveyed the point of the performance.

Maggie Feyrer on April 21st, 2019 at 5:54 pm

I think Jaylen hit my feelings about this play on the head when he mentioned it felt like his reactions and sad feelings were forced. If we come to the conclusion that this play is intended for a ‘Vandy Bubble’ audience and is performed now to bring attention within our population to the refugee crisis, I honestly feel like the performance did not succeed. Like each of them said in this discussion, it was long, drawn out, and left a lot of silence that easily allowed the audience to drift off. While reflection is powerful, I found it difficult to keep my attention on the play, and was thinking a lot less about the statistics and the representation of a crisis unfolding in front of me, and a lot more about how weird the silences were or how short the show was going to be (and how long it felt). The statistics were upsetting and that was their intention, but they weren’t surprising to me. Without the play grabbing me more and keeping my attention on the jarring aspects, the statistics felt like another news headline that I am obligated to be sad about. Yes, I found them terrible and upsetting, but there was nothing in this play that made me want to be proactive about it, which I think was one of the goals of leaving time for reflection.

Megan Haase on April 21st, 2019 at 7:05 pm

One thing that I found really interesting about your response was timing. You mentioned that the voting happened and then it ended, but really the vote happened about 2/3 or 3/4 of the way through the play. There was about 10-15 minutes left afterwards. The major difference that I think caused this perception is that there was a lot more action and dialogue in that final scene, while the first half was filled with a lot of silence.
As for the vote itself, I was actually one of the election officials. It was really interesting watching people who chose to vote no. Some did it out of curiousity, some because they were being funny, and some because they actually believed that was the right answer. It really reminded me of the 2016 presidential election because of all the people who jokingly voted in something that was serious and has had a major impact on many people’s lives, often negative.

James Owen on April 21st, 2019 at 10:46 pm

I agreed with Jaylen, Shreya, and Kenzie’s point that more dialgoue and less lengthy pauses would have made the show more engaging, because me I felt like each time there was a longer pause I would look to see if they were projecting anything, and I would lose focus on the actors. I really agreed with Shreya’s point about the guy who played five characters causing confusion, however, I enjoyed seeing him switch between characters because there wasn’t necessarily a lot going on at times, so it was interesting to see what role he would play next. While I didn’t really like most of the minimalism in the show, I do think it was pretty cool how they had the cast come out of the audience, because after I knew what the play was about, it made a statement about how refugees are no different than the rest of us. I enjoyed their discussion of “why this play now?”, because the show clearly made a statement about the current refugee crisis. I think that topic, and the engagement with the audience with the vote near the end really made it an important play now, because it put the audience in a position to think about the experiences of refugees before voting, and although I did not personally enjoy the show, I think it humanized the current refugee crisis by putting it on stage in front of me.

Trent Hill on April 22nd, 2019 at 1:23 am

I agree that the Suppliants might have better served the Vanderbilt community if it contained more dialogue, however, the silence is the most vital characteristic of the performance. Today, with easy access to media and entertainment, not much time is spent in silence; thus, this adaptation of the Suppliants forces viewers to take in the actions and few words being presented and reflect on what they are watching. It wants the audience to view the issue surrounding the suppliants (they, as refugees, are not automatically welcome wherever they venture), to form an opinion on it (whether the suppliants should be offered asylum), and to vote on the issue at the end (as a citizen of Argos) – ideally this vote is supposed to represent the true beliefs of the audience. However, as many in the audience probably noticed, there was an extraneous factor present that affected the results: peer pressure. Just like the King of Argos did not want to automatically welcome the suppliants to Argos to preserve his reputation as a democratic ruler, audience members not in favor of offering asylum to the suppliants might have been pressured into voting otherwise as the vote was made public. Therefore, the Suppliants is a critique of democracy as much as it is a critique of the treatment of refugees; the audience must decide to make their decision based on their formed opinion during the show or be pressured into following the majority. Overall, I enjoyed the Suppliants and the time it offered for reflection; it was different, and I would not mind seeing similar plays in the future.

Richard Ficek on April 22nd, 2019 at 4:00 am

I agree with many of the comments made by Kenzie, Jaylen, and Shreya. I came into the performance expecting lots of dialogue and action. However, the long silences made it difficult to stay engaged. I think the purpose of the silence was for dramatic tension and reflection. It was an opportunity for audience participation and interaction, but it lasted too long. At times, I felt bored and slightly confused. The minimalistic set also did not help. During the long pauses, there was not much to look at. I personally love an intricate, eye catching set, so I was slightly shocked when I saw the bare and simple set design. I did enjoy other aspects of the performance. I loved how the performers utilized the entire auditorium. It was unique and engaging when the three girls came into the audience. They were not restricted to just the stage area. I felt completely surrounded by and absorbed in the performance. I also thought it was really powerful when they projected the statistics on the board. They were shocking, sad, and really forced me to contemplate the refugee crisis and political climate. Overall, I did not enjoy this performance, but the actors were incredibly talented and the show helped educate the community on relevant and important social issues.

Sarah Traynor on April 22nd, 2019 at 10:18 am

The play was very long and the silence at the end seemed to go on forever. I think they could have left off with some silence but not as long as they left it. I agree with Kenzie when she said, “the minimalism made us focus more on the meaning instead of flashy set or costume pieces to distract us.” I think it was well said. I think that the creativeness behind the play and the thought they put into the story was very good, I just didn’t like the play as a whole. I agree with all the responses that it was rather boring but I think it is one of those plays that is important to go to. I think it put some issues in your face, so you can’t push them away, such as having to vote as an audience member. You couldn’t push the issue off or look around, it was like you were on the spot. I laughed when the responses says they asked Essin’s favorite question, but I think this group discussed that question very well as it exposes the bubble Vanderbilt students tend to be in when concerning global issues.

Mikala Rhody on April 22nd, 2019 at 3:01 pm

The conversation amongst Jaylen, Shreya, and Kenzie was a quite honest one and several points that they made, I resonated with. I do agree with them to an extent that the production was lackluster in its delivery, as it was very minimalistic in its production. At first this was quite off putting because initially when arriving to the performance I was under the impression that I was going to be entertained by it. It was not until later that it became evident that the play’s intentions were much less to entertain but to more so be informative and to make a statement. As Kenzie mentioned in her response, the bare set allowed the audience to focus on what was being conveyed by the actors which I believe tied into their goal of expressing this serious topic of being a refugee. Once I understood the goals of the play I was able to appreciate what it was doing but even so I do agree that it could have been spiced up to keep the attention of the audience more while still reaching its goal. I do also agree with Shreya’s point that having someone play multiple characters did lead to some confusion in me following the storyline. I feel like this minimalistic particular approach ended up taking more away from the play than it provided. I very much agreed with the points they made concerning the “why now” of the play when they mentioned that in the greater scheme of things, we on Vandy’s campus are disconnected to some issues in the outside world and that this play brings home some of these issues and makes us think. In terms of the engagement with the crowd, I would have liked to see it be more natural engagement, although considering the matter at hand it would be difficult to make it flow well while maintaining it’s serious tone.

Isaac Donkor on April 22nd, 2019 at 11:05 pm

I think that the conversation between Jaylen, Shreya, and Kenzie was incredibly well-driven and extensively thought out. One point right off the bat that resonated with me was the effect that the silence in this play had on my experience. For me, it was kind of honestly somewhat uncomfortable. I have never been to any show, movie, play, or sporting event where there is simply around 10 minutes of silence throughout the entire event. I agree with Jaylen when he said that the silence could be used for reflection. As mentioned in their conversation, since the audience was able to interact and vote at the end of the play, the silence could be used to allow the audience to gather their thoughts in order to make an informed, educated, well-thought out decision. Another aspect of their conversation that stood out to me was their discussion of the set. While the set might have seemed somewhat empty, I agree with Kenzie in the fact that I think it was intentionally left somewhat empty in order to emphasize the meaning of the play. Since it wasn’t incredibly ornate and fancy, it forced the audience to hone in on what the actors were saying and what the true message actually was. Overall, I believe that their commentary was relevant and incredibly useful in looking back and reflecting on the meaning and purpose of the play. Well done to all three of them.

William Caldwell on April 23rd, 2019 at 5:35 pm

I found the conversation between Jaylen, Shreya, and Kenzie very interesting. I believe they really thought about what they were going to say. They all agreed the play was fairly boring, I believe that they felt this way because they are not used to the minimalistic qualities of this production. For example they all found that there was a lot of silences and pauses. I believe that this was done intentionally to force the audience to focus in on the action and expressions of actors, as well as truly emphasizes the few about of words that were said. I think the same approach was takin with the minimal set design, the producers of this play did not want gaudy set design to take away from the bare bones and true meaning of this production. I commend the artistry that was used in this.

Temidayo Odeyingbo on April 24th, 2019 at 3:46 pm

I thought The Supplicants was one of the more non-traditional and interesting plays put on by VUT. My immediate thought after the play was what if the audience had voted no to protecting the Danaids. I’m not sure if the director had planned for that – or if they cast would just announce the majority of the audience had voted yes regardless. Jaylen, Shreya, and Kenzie’s discussion of why this play now is quite significant. The subtle references to refugees and connecting the theme of the play was pretty clear throughout. The fact that the stage design and the dialogue were kept to a minimum puts emphasis on the message of the play. I believe this message was the struggle of displaced people finding a place to settle down. I can now see that fleeing your homeland to avoid marriage parallels fleeing to avoid danger and the troubling question of deciding whether to harbor refugees into your country. Many themes in this play overlap the themes of America’s border crisis with Mexico. This gives a compelling reason for VUT putting on this play now.

Kevin Chen on April 24th, 2019 at 8:34 pm

It’s really interesting to look at all of the different opinions throughout these discussions by everybody reflecting on Suppliants. Some people think it was way too long and drawn out, and others that I know are very aware of what a good theatrical play is are saying that it actually might have been too short or just the right amount of time. I think for a play like this that really sticks to the plot and focuses less on the surroundings of the stage equipment and design, you have to really appreciate the story that is being told. I found that I, personally, don’t have enough appreciation for just the story/plot. I go to see plays for things we’ve talked about in class that make us sit at the front of our seat, that give us goosebumps, that draw us in by showing us things we’d never imagine could happen on stage in front of a live audience. Because of this, I agree with a lot of people that Suppliants did bore me a little, but I can also understand why it intrigued others. I think it’s safe to say that Vanderbilt is isolated in the city in Nashville and a lot of times we don’t take the time to focus on what is going on outside of our little bubble. I saw this reflected in the play and agree what the group wrote about this.

Jacqueline Welch on April 26th, 2019 at 12:13 pm

After reading this discussion, I am interested to see how the class responds to our ethnographic performance. There was a lot of talk about how they broke the fourth wall, which I personally enjoyed. By giving the audience time to reflect through the intentional silence, it was clear that the performance wanted to be more than just a comedy or a way to pass time. After noticing this impact, our group tried to incorporate some interactive elements/fourth wall breaking into our own performance in an effort to force the audience to engage with the topic at hand. Jaylen mentioned that he felt as if his hand was forced into some of the reactions or takeaways, but I think that was an important part of the performance as to make sure the audience was aware of the messaging and the intended takeaways.

Alexander Grant on April 26th, 2019 at 12:35 pm

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