Review: Rude Mechanicals’ production of “Harper and Laurel”

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Photo of Claudia McCarron holding up Sigma Tau Delta Review (Photo Courtesy of The Herald Mail)

“Harper and Laurel” is a student play written by Claudia McCarron in Dr. Carrie Messenger’s creative writing and drama class. The play tells the story of a teenage girl named Harper who goes to stay with her stepmother, Laurel, who is an actress her father met while directing. Harper’s father had recently died and Harper was helping her stepmother, Laurel, pack up some of his things. We see Harper have mental breakdowns as she misses her father, and wishes things were different. However, Harper admits to hating her father for not being around in her life more than he was.

The performance of “Harper and Laurel” was spectacular and gut wrenching. The actors of Harper (played by Ashley Hall), Laurel (played by Corey Mullen), and Margaret (played by Deidre Morrison) were emotionally powerful. They were able to capture the essence of their characters and bring them to life in such a way that their performance did not seem like acting. Additionally, the technique of freeze-framing the actors on stage while Harper played out her thoughts was incredible. The actors involved in the freezing appeared as though an actual pause button were hit. They were still, and remained so even when Harper interacted with them in her thoughts.

The set for “Harper and Laurel” was simplistic. Altogether, there was a bed, table, chairs, and a bench for set pieces. That being said, the inclusion of lights and sound effects throughout the production made up for the lack in scenery. The best visual throughout the production was the flashback to Harper and her father’s last interaction, in which lights symbolized a movie playing and sounds as though a movie reel was rolling.

The audience was left sniffling by the performance, as was I. I loved the performance.

McCarron was also there the night I went to see the production and said, “I absolutely loved it. I felt there were some parts that were different from how I interpreted the scene, but they were different in a good way.”