Stonewater Rapture Gives Haunting Performance in The Chat

In Uncategorized on November 13, 2008 at 5:56 am

page7raptureIf you’re like most people, there is someone you know in your circle of friends that everyone wants to get laid. Maybe they’re a late bloomer, maybe they’re a little bit awkward around the other sex. The bottom line is that they want to get some, and everyone’s rooting for it to happen, everyone wins right? Enter Doug Wright’s Stonewater Rapture to decimate any positive thoughts on this, or sex in general.

At first this play, held in the Chat from November 7 to the 9th, felt a bit like a cliché coming of age story. The first half of the play consists of a couple of teenagers struggling with ideas of sex and religious values. Well into the first twenty minutes it starts to come off as if the biggest conflict in the play will be between the young Whitney’s libido, played by senior Steven Carpenter, and Carlyle’s religious prudeness, played by sophomore Kimberly Rossi. What eventually amounts to some awkward kissing and touching, which personally made me as an audience member feel a wee bit naughty, Carlyle storms off all in a tizzy about God. Leaving the audience to assume that the second part of the show would consist of the two getting back together and finally getting it on, or round two of the Libido vs. Jesus matchup.

What happened next, however, blew me the hell away. The plot suddenly takes a turn for a much, much darker side of  both sex and religion. Without going into graphic detail about what exactly happened…Cough Group Rape, Cough Cough Male to male penile contact…We learn some very dark secrets from the two characters. What started off as a play about a couple 18-year-old kids walking the hormonal tight rope turns into the disgusting truth about the small town of Stonewater. The play offers little foreshadowing of the events to come other than a celestial vision of naked angels surrounding Carlyle and Whitney’s occasional gay-bashing.

For my part I was blown away by the twist of this play. In the acting department, the dialogue between the Carpenter and Rossi was awkward at times, but each hit their high points as well. Rossi’s nailed Carlyle’s disillusioned religious interpretation of what happened when the football team got her drunk in a way that made me cringe more than once. Carpenter’s revelation of Whitney’s homoerotic contact was just as strongly played. This play definitely saved its best stuff for the last part of the show, which still lingers long after you’ve left.

2007 alumnus Delante Keys returned to direct Stonewater Rapture following a stint of successful acting parts in the area. The show ran smoothly with no obvious hang-ups, although it once again proved how inferior the Chat is as a place to put on a play. I often found myself maneuvering my head to see the action on stage. For his part, you could tell that Keys came back to Arcadia with the goal to impress, and he did not come up short. This play masked its intent well, luring the audience in with a relatively benign tale that goes horribly awry.

I suppose if there is one silver lining to this dark cloud of moral destruction that was Stonewater Rapture, it’s that in the end Whitney and Carlyle cast aside their initial qualms and get down and dirty. But it’s the price they pay to do it that you won’t be able to get out of your head.


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