Arts

Experimental Play Explores Themes of Violation, Trust, and Betrayal

Senior Students Presents “M_D_ _ _ L_ _”

By Gisselly Balcacer

“M_D_ _ _L_ _” takes us back to a McDonald’s in Mount Washington, Kentucky, to talk about a story that has impacted the lives of several fast food workers.
This play is based on a true event that happened on April 9, 2004. It is based on a story about a sick man who was using his spare time to hoax McDonald’s employees into thinking that he was a cop. He would call several locations until he landed himself into a conversation with an employee who believed every single word he said.
As he spoke to the employee he would give a vague description of a person until someone fit the description and accused that person of stealing money.
The whole idea of the scam was to get people to do illegal strip searches and other offensive stuff to employees. Surprisingly many people fell for it and many employees suffered for this act.
“M_D_ _ _ L _ _” was a bit confusing to understand in the beginning. So I suggest first reading the director’s notes. But to start they had a beautiful realistic set. I felt like I was sitting in a real McDonald’s watching a show. That also includes their uniforms and props, they were all very realistic.
Going into the dialogue was very relatable to the college student crowd. The language was definitely thought through being that this is a workshop production. A workshop piece is when it is basically a work in progress and there are many changes as it goes.
This production was interesting to see that it had such a powerful message behind all the fries and burger. You have to take time and analyze every word the characters say.
Sophie had this beautiful moment to herself where she was thinking out loud. I did not understand in the beginning why she was talking to herself, until the light comes on for the next scene and you realize a tragic event has just happened.
In the last scene Sophie and Mike were seen walking off together but before they walked away, they were lured into the effect of beautiful white snow falling from the stage sky with a floor light hitting them in just the right angle.
(Effects) crew did a great job with that scene. It was my favorite part of the show.
In regards of acting, I felt as if the characters were very believable. Casting did a good job deciding who plays what but there were minor details that caught my eye.
Manny Rodriguez who played Roy did a stupendous job. His character gave this creepy, perverted yet confused with himself vibe. His words were as articulate as can be, everything from his body posture, to his 1960’s I ride a Cadillac mustache.
Manny was one of the characters that were different and a little harder to distinguish, which is why I found him at most interesting.
Some CSI students say that if they did not know some of the backstory it would be hard for them to understand the moral. Some students also said that some scenes could have been executed a little better. They were not driven home, as one student stated.
Each character carries their own set of stakes that it is up to the audience if they want to follow through with the character or not. They seem like very simple characters but they are so complex because they hold onto so much more as the play goes on.
Overall the play was good, there were some things that could have been done differently in order to benefit the audience. I recommend to students, to watch it once it gets produced in Chicago and see what changes were made.

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