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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

“Do You Feel Anger?” opens in Flanagan Theatre

Sophie Noyes `24 (left) and Letícia Monteiro `23 stand on the set of “Do You Feel Anger,” which was designed to imitate a typical “fishbowl” conference room. Photo by Isabel Torrence.

Opening night has arrived for the play “Do You Feel Anger?” by Mara Nelson-Greenberg, directed by Professor Karie Miller, theatre and dance. On Thursday, Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m., the cast began their four-show run in Flanagan Theater. 

The play, which had its world premiere at the Humana Festival in 2018, follows the lives of office workers at a debt collection agency who must learn to empathize with their customers from an expert “empathy coach.”  

“It’s as much a play about feelings and empathy and relationships, as it is also a play about harm and complicity and the absurdity of workplace dynamics and the friction around all of that … it’s both very, very funny, but it’s also very dark and dramatic at times,” Miller said. 

The production’s visiting professional scenic, lighting and props designer is Jackie Fox, who worked to reproduce what Miller called a typical “fishbowl” conference room, where the play will take place. 

Miller said that Fox and the technical directors of the play, Erik Sanning and Kate Baumgartner `15, sought to reflect the modern workplace, but also to reference more dated material like workplace training videos while creating the space, costumes, and props.  

 “It is absurd, but this is a separate world. There are different rules to this world. But in some ways, that’s kind of how it feels when you’re being gaslit or you’re in situations of harm. It feels like you don’t know what the rules of the world are,” Miller said. 

 Miller said that they first saw the play at the Humana Festival, where they thought that the play’s themes of producing community and care would be especially relatable and relevant for students and artistic communities.  

 Miller has emphasized care and artistic flexibility in their own production of “Do You Feel Anger?” where they say they have attempted to deconstruct traditional hierarchies in theatre. 

Miller especially prioritized theatrical intimacy coordination practices in their direction of the production, including checking in with performers about their boundaries before all rehearsals, choreographing all intimate activity, maintaining transparency with one another and using a safe word if any performer becomes uncomfortable. 

Mathilda Haddock `24, who plays the protagonist Sophia’s mother in the production, said that performers took an active role in ensuring that their rehearsals were safe and open spaces. 

“My experience is you immediately get into the lines and already start to break down the characters, but this was a lot more like making a space for the cast together. It was a really great way of doing that because we have some very hard material to work with,” Haddock said, recalling a time she had played tag with a cast member while rehearsing a difficult scene because he was “in his head.” 

Miller added that while the play explores harm and workplace dynamics, it is also about complicity. 

 “I’ve tried talking with the students about transformative justice, and that relies on the idea that it’s not one person’s problem, it’s not one person’s fault. In order for things to change, we all have to take responsibility for both the circumstances and the people involved. And seek to change all of it as opposed to punishing one person or a certain group of people for something when they are really products of a system that we all participate in and benefit from,” Miller said. 

The play’s in-person performances are in Flannagan Theater, the black box theater located in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, is free and open to all members of the campus community with a P-Card. Performances are set for Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee on Sunday, Nov. 21, at 2:00 p.m. Tickets for the in-person performance are available at the Bucksbaum box office. 

The theater will seat about 90 audience members, and spectators will be required to wear masks. Actors will not be masked during the performance, although they will not come within six feet of the audience and are required to wear masks backstage. 

The play will also be livestreamed online for free. Tickets for the livestreamed performance can be found here. 

There is a content warning for the show, specifically for profanity, depictions of sexual harassment, implied violence and implied sexual activity, loud noises and bright lights. 

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