‘Let the Right One In’ gets a little too dark

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By Andrew Becker
The Carolinian

The Shoestring players performed “Let the Right One In”, in an ambitious display.

Not enough can be said about the set of this performance: one of the greatest sets I’ve seen at Upstate, the play’s backdrop of snowy birch trees gave the story an ominous power throughout; upon entry into the theater you’re immediately pulled in to their almost supernatural mystery.

However, while the trees were lovely, many of the scenes, particularly the interior ones, suffered because of the frequent stage-dims. I felt as if nearly a third of the play was spent in the dark, waiting for the previous scene to be torn down and the new scene to arrive and be set up, only to have the process repeat itself after a minute or two of dialogue.

As an audience member, the interruptions were exhausting. It seemed as if a few of shorter scenes could’ve been cut out or melded into fewer scenes, while in several others the dialogue itself needed trimming.

For instance, in the hospital scene, Eli, the vampire friend of Oskar, tells the audience she can taste morphine in (Gabe Troski) Hakan’s blood—this unnecessary detail, almost mentioned by Eli as an afterthought, was the unfortunate close to one of the most important and emotionally-charged scenes in the play, the overall effect of which dragged the entire scene into boring superfluity.

This is not to say that the play was bad; knowing this play requires a certain level of special-effects to perform, the Shoestring Players did an admirable job at rigging harnesses, swinging in the set’s beautiful, frosty birches, and enough face-melting acid and blood spurt to discomfort. With this play more than others, so much credit is due to the crew, who worked endlessly in the dark between scenes.

There were also strong supporting role performances from the bully Johnny and Oscar’s Mum, played by Garrett Gibson and Kacy Winterhalter, respectively.

Next month the Shoestring Players will return with “Midnight’s Pillow”, a collection of Shakespearean scenes “conceived and edited” by Stephen Unwin and directed by Lee and Deana Neibert. Don’t miss it.

Photos courtesy of Alyssia Chaplin, Bridgette Staggs, and various students

Photos by Like Mother Like Daughter Photography & Graphics