Pillory Theater

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Pillory: A Total Experience
The Sounds of Silence
by Madeline Grumet
December  1968

Editor(Owen Daly)>  A series of six performances of Runesglee and The Elephant were staged at Adelphi University in December, 1968.  Madeline Grumet wrote this review in the student newspaper, The Delphian.

    Perhaps the most experimental and successful of all Adelphi's endeavors "happened" in the Little Theater.  Those who attended any of Pillory's performances this past weekend acclaimed it to be tremendously exciting, unique, ingenious, and a close to "total experience".  One of the few drawbacks of the production was that many members of the audience were unsure of the meaning, the real message of Runesglee and were uncomfortable in realizing that they were left with many impressions and even more questions.  Pillory shattered Adelphi's stale stability - and that in itself is a major reason for this critic's hailing the company's accomplishments.

    With an acting cast of six performers, Pillory's Runesglee is the creation of many artists, philosophers... mankind itself.  Runesglee was most creatively arranged by Dr. Jacques Burdick in association with his troupe.  It was an intensively involving, spiritually moving and eloquent, sensory work of art performed by Doris Adler, Owen Daly, Bonnie Gable, Michele Lazerow, Jeffrey Spolan and Kimberly Welsh with an energy and enthusiasm that permeated the theater and enraptured audiences. 

    Runesglee, or "a celebration of Tropes on Western Texts," presented six of mankind's "historic" memories in a manner unlike any previous productions seen by the majority of audiences.  Words, per se, were NOT the key to the meaning of this performance, for it was the action, the lack of words that communicated the feelings, the meanings, the emotional intensities of the memories. The audience was allowed to reap of the experience only to the degree that it became involved in it. 

    Unlike other Little Theater productions, Pillory was presented to an audience of no more than 100 people at a time, seated on the stage and in the first few rows of the theater.  Surrounding the performers - and almost with them - the audience had more of a chance to become involve with what was happening (to them, as well as in front of them) then ever before.   Also unique and very effective was the requirement that men and women be seated separately during the performance. 

    If Pillory's goal was spiritual audience involvement, they indeed achieved it.  The sorrow, happiness, fear, love ... portrayed by the actors were felt equally as much by most members of the audience as well.  Unfortunately, there were those who came to the performances too tight, too set to look for the "deepening meanings" to let themselves go, let Pillory happen to them, and in turn, let themselves happen emotionally and spiritually with Pillory. (These people are to be pitied.  My sympathy...)

    The second part of the performances was presented in a lighter vein and one could sense the relief of the audience.  The breast pounding, heart-rending, soul-searching of Runesglee was followed by a quick paced adaptation of three tales by Slawomir Mrozek, The Elephant.  The previously bare stage was now scantily lad in order to convey a circus-like aura.  Black on white drawings of a horse, a lion, and an elephant appeared o three walls and a circus ring was constructed stage center.  The six performers were dressed in snappy red tights and tops and the lyrical verses were witty and cleverly portrayed.

   Although the three short tales were brighter and seemingly lighter than Runesglee, to those listening, watching and getting involved closely with the presentations, the message was there - and boldly so!   Lines such as "and the children never believed in elephants again" were memorable not only for their humorous qualities in context with the "play", but their impact was strikingly off-chord.

    The quality of Pillory is the fin- (Continues on page Eleven) {lost}

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