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Shattered Noodle Scrapbook: A Review

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by Lola Furbee

 

Shattered Noodle Scrapbook recently played on the campus of North Central College in Madden Theatre. It was the NCC Theatre Department’s collaboration with the Neo-Futurists Theatre Group from Chicago. Under the direction of Neil Bhandari and Abby Pajakowski, the play was set in a 30/60 format, meaning the actors had sixty minutes to perform thirty different skits. The skits were entirely original, written by cast members Taylor Dobes, Kayla Jordan, Amy Keca, Raine Lanoue, Brandon Luna, Kyra Savage, and Ari Watts. Additionally, the ensemble didn’t play a character throughout the show, instead acting as themselves and basing their skits off their real-life experiences. To round out the individuality of this show, the audience was actually in charge of naming off which skit they wanted to see next, meaning that each performance was bound to be different depending on which order the audience chose.

It feels like an understatement to say that the raw honesty that was portrayed throughout this play couldn’t be captured in any other way. The stories that were told on the Madden Theatre black box stage were not only unique to these performers, but clearly very heartfelt to them, as well. Whether it was a story about Lanoue’s ability to see the beauty in a piece of garbage or Luna’s experience as a Latino American, the ensemble was nothing but sincere. They were sincere in their humor too, as the audience had a great time laughing at Keca’s story about almost moving to North Carolina or at the ensemble as a whole as they sprawled out across the stage to act as cicadas. On top of the genuine performances that were presented, what appeared to be even more monumental was the cast’s instantaneous ability to shift the tone of the show. Because of the sixty-minute time limit, there was no time to stop and dwell on the skit that had just occurred. Instead, the ensemble had to quickly work in unison to switch out the props and prepare for the next scene. It seems like no easy feat to go from telling a devastating story that a cast member went through to, within seconds, dancing to a Fortnite song together, but that’s exactly what happened, and this cast did it flawlessly.

Student stage manager Josette Falzone (L) and cast member Raine Lanoue (R)

Light and sound board operator, Jovany Herández, must be equally applauded for his efforts on this production as well. His ability to prepare the needed effects for each scene, again within seconds at a time, is something to be admired. What’s more is that Herández would have had no idea as to which skit was up next, seeing as the audience was going to assemble a different order for each performance, making his job even more difficult, and surely, stressful. Similar to the ensemble however, Herández executed his job seamlessly, utilizing well timed lighting and sound effects to add to the skits that were being acted on stage.

Shattered Noodle Scrapbook was truly a one-of-a-kind performance in the best way possible. It contained some of the best elements you can find on a stage – humor, irony, and thoughtfulness – all of which are a testament to the profound students within the North Central College Theatre Department. The NCC Theatre Department met the mark for organizing yet another great stage production and is sure to continue to do so again in the future.

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