When tragedy strikes, you have to Carrion
By Nia Sanders
Colonial life in America takes a dramatic, yet comedic effect in Joshua Mikel’s play “The Carrion,” where a British settlement in the North faces a plague that has already affected the communities surrounding them in the early 17th century. The production was part of the university theater department’s New Play Project and ran Oct. 17-20.
In the first act, Dr. Ambrose, a prominent doctor in the community, kills his co-worker Dr. Prewitt out of fear that Prewitt will expose his extramarital affair to the public. Dr. Ambrose portrays the death as an accident, and the story of Dr. Prewitt’s death is fabricated in order to maintain peace and stability among the colonists.
Dr. Prewitt’s “accidental” death is instantly met with skepticism. Bartholomew, the new doctor in town, performs an autopsy on the recently deceased doctor and realizes that he was murdered.
Many are quick to question Bartholomew’s credentials because he is fresh in his occupation, and he has to fill the shoes of the community’s beloved Dr. Prewitt.
The director manages to depict the characters very vividly. He portrays Bartholomew as an implied heroine trying to make his way in the community and Dr. Ambrose as the villain who tries to seclude himself from the questions arising from the tragedy that could potentially reveal his crime.
In the meantime, Bartholomew remains under the wing of Dr. Ambrose as his apprentice, unbeknownst to him that his mentor is a murderer on the loose.
Things turn sour once the plague enters in act two. Dr. Prewitt’s widow falls dangerously ill after it is suspected that a bacteria growing on the radishes is causing the spread of the plague. Dr. Ambrose and Bartholomew are forced to develop a remedy before more people are infected and die.
The two men conflict on how to cure the civilians, which leads to a divide in the community. Soon after, a snowball effect of unfortunate events arises and brings the play to its gruesome end.
The cast enacted the script flawlessly and kept the audience entertained throughout the entire performance. The three crows in “The Carrion” were the highlights of the play, while lurking in the background and appearing at the height of head turning moments.
This is meant to illustrate what becomes of the deteriorating colony, as they utter the words “juicy, juicy, juicy” and other repetitious phrases throughout different scenes.
Several of the actors showed their versatility by depicting more than one character. Their transitions required people’s full and undivided attention.
Regardless, the actors’ talent is commendable. They gave the audience their fare share of laughs, like the patient who shares more than his ailments to Bartholomew or Dr. Ambrose’s wife who is comically portrayed by a male actor.
Overall, “The Carrion” is a play worth watching as this settlement town provides an interesting view of the past and the hysteria that follows it.