‘Loot’ tackles crime, death, and authority with comedic twist

Loot 005By Carlee Berkenkemper

Elm Staff Writer

A large brown coffin took center stage in Tawes Theatre this past Friday and Saturday, Nov. 9 and 10, signaling the impending performance of a dramatic comedy featuring crime and death.

Though the production began with a solemn scene of mourning surrounding the body of mother and wife Mrs. McLeavy in her coffin, it was followed by a dramatic shift in tone conducive to romantic pursuits, endless hijinks, and the stashing of a stolen fortune.

“Loot”, written by Joe Orton, was directed by senior Colin Higgins for his Senior Capstone Experience. The play follows the story of Hal and Dennis, two young thieves who use the death of Hal’s mother and Dennis’ job as an undertaker to their advantage in their attempt to get away with bank robbery.

Set in the 1960’s, the play takes a satirical approach toward religion and law enforcement. This attitude drew sophomore Jake Dipaola, who played Dennis, to the production.

“I love this play because there are few characters that should be liked or few that don’t have major flaws, yet still we find ourselves rooting for the criminals, hoping they escape. The characters clash with homosexuality in the 1960s, corruption with authority, death, and religion,” Dipaola said.

Transitions throughout the show ranged from serious depictions of car accidents and physical fights between characters to hilarious one-liners.

In one chaotic scene, Hal and Dennis attempt to stuff Mrs. McLeavy’s body in a closet to hide her from the police.

During various points throughout the production, Hal’s personal code of honesty takes precedence and leads him to confess his crimes to a detective, whereas his partner Dennis often feigns confidence in order to manipulate the situation to his advantage.

Although it is a comedy, Higgins chose to direct “Loot” because the show also places its characters in serious scenarios.

“I was interested in this specific production due to the way it embodies the duality of comedy and follows the line between farce and satire. In directing this show, I wanted to show that comedies can depict rampant tides of emotion going from thunderous laughter to stunned silence and sadness,” Higgins said.

Senior Alex Kincaid, who played Meadows, a law enforcement officer, was intrigued by the various interpretations that could be taken from the production due to a fluctuation in tone and the contrast of serious and comedic moments.

“Personally, I really like this play because it uses comedy as a way to start conversations about why we so easily place trust in institutions of authority,” he said.

One audience member, freshman Emma Campbell, appreciated how the story was brought to life on stage.

“I liked the chemistry that the actors had with each other,” she said, “Their passion for the story was evident, and that added even more humor to the shenanigans that ensued.”

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