Students seduced by fever-pitched classic

By Diana Ashjian
April 28, 2005

Shane Evans

August Strindberg’s classic “Miss Julie” seduced Cabrini College with a heated production of a sizzling attraction turned fierce power struggle on March 11, 12 and 17 – 19, in the Grace Hall Theater.

Set on a makeshift black wooden stage and directed by Neal Newman, both Jean’s and Miss Julie’s attempts to break the constraints of their obvious emotional discontents exploded when they fused their already hot and shortened wires together in a passionately charged drunken spell on Midnight Summer’s Eve in 1890.

Jean, who was played furiously by John Holloway, had audience members shifting nervously as he taunted and pleaded with the count’s daughter, Miss Julie, to accept him despite his lower class stance as her father’s valet. Then, like a light switch, he flickered into a rage and ranted egotistically with, “You Lackey Lover, you bootblack’s tramp!”

Miss Julie, played touchingly by Tara McFalls, also highlighted and humanized societal limitations not mindful of her upper class status. Her naughty and arrogant temperament was eventually forged into helpless naivety with statements like, “I don’t have a self that is my own.”

Such a powerful performance not only permitted eccentricity, but also implored it with steps that were too steep for the characters to climb on their way up the ladder to the crushing power they craved.

Ultimately, Jean copped-out and stepped-down. But not before he made sure to help Miss Julie, who couldn’t live dishonorably, step completely off. “There’s the broom. Go now, when the sun is up, out into the barn..,” Jean said as he handed Miss Julie a razor.

Overall, the play was a success, and the script requirements were handled with a surprising level of craftsmanship. “Miss Julie” delivered a world of suppression, sexual attraction and destruction with which the cast did not seem to miss a beat. The overall content of “Miss Julie” left Cabrini’s community with plenty to think about in regard to life circumstances, as well as an appreciated curiosity for what’s next for Cabrini theater.

Posted to the web by Shane Evans

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Diana Ashjian

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