Ashley Huizinga–Staff Writer
Inspiration usually comes during work, rather than before it. So said Madeleine L’Engle, who probably completed her fair share of academic essays and articles the day before they were due. To be fair, however, her acclaimed novel “A Wrinkle in Time,” the inspiration for this semester’s Theater Department production, was probably not finished the night before it was due.
The Fall mainstage production of “A Wrinkle in Time” opened with a flourish last Thursday evening, Oct. 12, to a modest crowd of parents, alumni, and community members. After being seated with panache by one of three ushers in the darkened Tepaske Theater, attendees settled in for a few hours of fantasy, imagination, and costume designs that would surprise you.
The show begins with a flash of light from stage right. “IT,” read the white letters imprinted on the black screen, silhouetting actors and actresses alike.
“IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT.”
Included in the audience members was one Dan Gibson, who remembers writing for the Diamond as a former Dordt student, more than 40 years ago.
“I’m here because of Lucy Shaw, a poet friend of mine [who was] a good friend of Madeleine L’Engle,” said Gibson. “I saw the name L’Engle, that’s a pretty big deal, so I thought I’d check it out.”
“Wrinkle” tells Madeleine L’Engle’s original story of Meg and Charles Wallace Murry, who hunt for their mysteriously missing father through time and space under the direction of three former stars (yes, the celestial beings) named Mrs. Whatsit (senior Erica Liddle), Mrs. Who (senior Alex Rexford), and Mrs. Which (senior Annie Sears).
“It was probably the most ACTF-like thing [Dordt’s] ever done,” said theater alum Eliana Radde, who traveled from Minnesota with husband Logan Radde to see the Saturday evening showing for Defender Days. “Just crazy, and dramatic, and theatrical.”
The full cast was comprised of 10 students. Each student performs in at least two roles (one primary role, in addition to serving as their own extras), plus a sizable production team and technical crew. However, even in the midst of such a group, Director Teresa Terhaar provided opportunities for each student to make his or her presence known.
Sophomore Aiden Bender (Calvin O’Keefe) imitating a barking dog and Liddle mimicking a squawking crow were just a few of many memorable moments throughout the show. Senior Annie Sears’ interpretative dancing for each of her lines of dialogue was eye-catching and whimsical, while freshman Damon Groen (Charles Wallace Murry) hushed the audience with his dynamic and eerie cackling in the last act. As the kid brother of the main protagonist, Groen put on a show for his first Dordt Theater performance. So too did sophomore Josh Zietze (with just the right amount of smirk), who served as the brain of the evil outfit on the dark planet of Camazotz.
Junior Tommy Shin was quite the intimidating figure in tailcoat and black lipstick. And senior Ben Kuiper somehow remained in perfect character, even just walking off the stage as he does in the second half.
“[This show] brings you to another place,” an audience member said. “It’s imaginative. There’s the creepy sounds, and the eerie whistling [in the opening scene]. You have to imagine they’re other people, and then they’re there, and then they’re not.”
But theater isn’t all fun and games. Each cast member dove into their roles headfirst, particularly Bender and sophomore Katelyn Baljeu (Meg Murry), who make good use of skills learned in Stage Combat class to leap, fall, and undergo frequent seizures from one corner of the stage to the other.
“I think I’ve shed blood at every showing so far,” said junior Janelle Cammenga, who plays Mrs. Murry. “I just keep banging against stuff and bruising up my shins and whatever.”
The sound design and stage design were surprisingly minimal. Small details like the fact that the Camazotz cloaks mirror the set pieces managed to bring costume and stage design together.
The flashes of light and monotone speeches of the full cast repeating lines simultaneously during the tesseract scenes were just eerie enough to lend an atmosphere to the production.
While the show moved a little slower than previous Dordt Theater Arts productions, “Wrinkle” took its time developing plot and schematics, a necessary intervention in a play adaptation drawn from a 3-book series with no more than 2 hours to hit on everything significant.
“A Wrinkle in Time” was a good time, and I’d recommend attending one of the showings this weekend if only to hear Shin pronounce “cookies” and “corridor” (both of which were also great parts of a pretty fun show). It’s absolutely like no Dordt production you’ve ever seen before, or ever will see again.
“A Wrinkle in Time” showed in the Tepaske Theater Thursday, Oct. 12, at 7:30p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 14, at 2pm and 7:30 pm; Thursday, Oct. 19, at 7:30p.m.; Friday, Oct. 20, at 7:30p.m.; and Saturday, Oct. 21, at 7:30p.m.