‘Confessions' is dark, evocative

by Laura Sim | 4/7/13 10:00pm

by Jacob Weiss / The Dartmouth

The set-up of the play is remarkably simple. "Confessions" is a one-woman dark comedy starring an unnamed girl (Lecocq), acted entirely on one set. As seemingly one-dimensional as the play is set up, the storyline proved evocative and multi-layered, challenging audience members to explore the main character's mind as she narrates through the eventful moments of her life.

"There are two different realities operating at once, and that's just been really fun to navigate," director Katie Lindsay '11 said. "It's been challenging to figure out what the rules of these different realities are. The question was, How do we make sense of all of this that is going on?'"

"Confessions" follows the story of a young girl who grew up without the comforts of family or companionship. By learning from the few (and short-lived) adults in her life, she quickly realizes not to trust others and that violence is key to eliminating those who get in her way. Yet in her quest to feel loved, Lecocq's character ironically becomes the ultimate serial killer.

The acting in this production proved so genuine that I (along with my fellow audience members) could not help but feel personally invested in the main character's triumphs and tribulations. As the only character in the play, Lecocq commanded the stage for 70 full minutes, an incredible feat for any actor.

"Anytime someone sets out to do solo performance, as with Vero's project, it's a herculean endeavor," theater professor Irma Mayorga said. "To hold the stage alone for seventy minutes requires guts. To make the performance event as lead producer, like Vero, requires a stalwart and yet open disposition and a hyperactive sense of organization."

Because "Confessions" centered around the lone actress, Lecocq paid special effort to telling an engaging story that did not lose her audience members' attention, she said.

"I've done research and watched one-person shows and realized that a lot of them feel static," Lecocq said. "This production is much more dynamic. There's movement, technical elements, lighting and sounds. I think it's going to be much more visceral and much more engaging."

Yet the production team of "Confessions" did not only focus on the superb student-driven acting and directing. The lighting in the play emerged as a character of its own, thanks to the work of lighting designer Stacey Derosier '12. The work with lighting, which was as dynamic as Lecocq's character herself, was constantly adjusted to the play's plot twists, creating an animate scene on the stage. And when coupled with an original score by Max Gottschall '15, "Confessions" aroused an intensity and uneasiness that only elicited greater audience attention.

Perhaps most profoundly, Lecocq's performance decidedly broke the rules of traditional and "safe" theater. Lecocq pushed the play's boundaries when her character pulled out a gun on stage and fired it above the audience. Yet these risky moments worked they worked to make the audience feel genuinely involved in the play's chaos. As provocative as it may sound, as I followed this young girl's journey into a destructive, twisted adulthood, I could not help but feel sympathy for the young-girl-turned serial killer. After all, Lecocq clearly depicted a character who never meant wrong-doing, but something actually very far from evil genuine innocence that got lost in translation through her harrowing childhood.

At the close of the production, I read Lecocq's question in her playbook which asked, "Is she a maniacal agent of her own evil will, or is she the victim of circumstances that have conspired to make her what she is?" This was ultimately the question behind the theatrics and the crazy character that took the stage. Behind the woman at the close of the play was a young girl who had suffered from a traumatic and confusing childhood. Perhaps she was not evil, but rather, a product of life's circumstances.

"Confessions" was Lecocq's honors project for the theater department.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction appended: April 8, 2013

**The original version of this article stated the play was held Monday when in fact it was performed Friday, Saturday and Sunday.*