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BISV’s Men on Boats


BISV’s fall play, Men on Boats, is inspired by the historical account of ten explorers on the 1869 Powell Geographic Expedition. The one-armed captain and crew set off on a journey through the uncharted waters of the Colorado River and Green River, with the destination being the Grand Canyon. The plot is marked by obstacles such as rough currents, hunger, team dynamics, and more. Although the plot isn’t very complex (and a little boring), the execution of the play and performance made up for it. Now that all five showings are over, let’s talk about it.

The stage design and props greatly enhanced the appeal of the play. The painted set beautifully captured the setting, and the steps on the side of the stage incorporated a 3D element, creating a rocky background that helped immerse the audience in the terrain. However, one of the most creative touches was the foldable design of the four boats, allowing for dynamic movement across the stage. The attention to detail in the set really helped bring the setting to life.

Furthermore, the sound and lights were also impressive. The sound effects perfectly aided the script, creating a three dimensional experience. They weren’t excessively dramatic except for when they were being used for humor. The use of smoke combined with the colorful lighting was my favorite, because not only was it pretty but it also helped increase the sense of excitement and danger while the actors were traveling the waters. During a scene where the actors were struggling to survive a sinking ship, the dramatic blue lighting fit nicely. The effort put into the sound and lights surely paid off.

The performance involved actors skillfully navigating the challenges of the river expedition. They worked together well to make the play more realistic. They were also great at dramatic scenes, such as when boats were capsizing. One (probably unintentional) enjoyable aspect was the way everyone’s hats kept falling off. Moreover, the audience seemed to enjoy the humorous parts of the play most. For example, the scene with “I’m taking off my pants sir!” was a crowd favorite, followed by laughter. However, the most common criticism was that the dialogue was difficult to hear, which made the play difficult to understand at the beginning and caused confusion about the plot. 

The play benefitted from a combination of creative set design, effective use of sound and lights, and a talented cast. Despite the excellent execution of the play, the plot was repetitive, causing boredom. Nevertheless, the drama club made the most of it, making BISV’s “Men on Boats” a definite success.

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