Skin Theatrical Review

Posted -

On the Sunday afternoon before break, I walked up the hill and met a number of my friends to see Davidson College Theatre Department’s latest production, Skin by Naomi Iizuka.

I left the show feeling confused. Not disappointed, just confused, and I don’t think that’s any fault of the actors, director, or design team. Rather, it was a problem with the text itself. The play happens in a non-linear fashion, but ultimately tells the story of a couple struggling to understand each other and stay together after having a child. The man ultimately seems to go crazy and kills the woman, but the text doesn’t seem to give any reasoning behind his descent into madness or a moral to walk away with. Skin is based on Georg Büchner's play, Woyzeck, but unlike Skin, it justifies the man’s insanity (a product of a lack of nutrition) and presents a clear moral about the class system.

Now, for the actual production, I was as impressed as ever. David Lee played the main character, Jones. Lee went all out for the character, throwing himself into the mad stupor and jumbled mess of his mind with energy and passion. It made the character come across as far clearer than the text alone would have. He was supported by Callan Gies, who played Mary, Jones’s partner. She portrayed the dream-like idealism of the character with whimsical tones, but also offered more powerful rage when upset. Riley Sloan portrayed the Navy Man with whom Mary sleeps with a strange balance of domination and respect. I’d say Callan and Riley had the most powerful moment on stage when Riley’s character offers Callan a toy boat to give to her child, which she refuses. In the moment, it’s clear that one character wants to move forward in the relationship while the other wants the exact opposite, despite them never speaking a word about it.

As for design, this show marked the debut of the department’s new scenic designer, Anita Tripathi. The set looked like something out of a junkyard, a welded series of platforms covered in plastic draping, that loudly creaked with each move people made. It fit the desolate tone of the play’s world. It also debuted Bailey Anderson’s choreography, which hinted at certain events without showing them overtly. The lighting and projection onto the plastic sheets served to reinforce the mental state of Jones, as it would flash between images haphazardly as characters spoke. Costumes were simple and non-distracting, seeming to fit into the modern time period.

Overall, it was a good show with a bad source material. Also, before the performance, the department announced the spring musical, Cabaret, so look forward to it!

If you are interested in writing an article for Her Campus Davidson, contact us at [email protected] or come to our weekly meeting Tuesday at 8pm in the Morcott Room.

About The Author

Just an English nerd drowning in words. English major with a Film and Media Studies minor. Aspiring to write many novels, films, television shows, and video games. Avid reviewer of movies, theatrical productions, videogames and pretty much anything you can possibly review.