Carrie at What Theater

What Theater brings supernatural 'Carrie' to Schine Underground with anti-bullying message

Based off Stephen King’s 1974 novel about a teenage girl whose struggles to fit lead her to being a deadly force at prom, "Carrie" came to life on Dec. 2 and 3.

For advertising junior Max Murphy, Carrie: The Musical has been his favorite musical ever since he listened to it at 16 years old.

“The message of what does it cost to be kind is so incredible, so necessary to be spread on this campus, around this world,” Murphy said.

Photo: Rusty Frank
Carrie (Kayla Temple) takes her revenge at the prom in "Carrie: The Musical."

As director of What Theatre, a campus group open to all non-drama majors at Syracuse University, Murphy chose the show for the student-run organization’s fall musical.

In typical theater fashion, the lights flickered in the Schine Underground, signaling the start of the show to a packed audience. After a welcoming from What Theatre president Jennifer Bideaux, the actors appeared from behind blue curtains on both sides of the stage. A pit orchestra composed of a base, drums, two keyboards and a cello was located on stage left.

The cast froze in the dark until the lights came up. The musical began with junior Samantha Fioravanti giving a deposition as her character Sue. The audience was then transported to a high school gym, where main character Carrie White, beautifully portrayed by freshman Kayla Temple, experiences her first period. The high school girls make fun of Carrie for not knowing what menstruation is, and they throw pads and tampons in her direction until gym teacher Miss Gardner, played by senior Nicole Baz, breaks up the scene.

From the beginning of the show it is obvious that Carrie is different from her fellow classmates simply based on appearance. She is dressed in a long beige skirt and oversized cardigan, in contrast to some of the other high school girls in short skirts and tight shirts.

The next scene takes place inside Carrie’s home where her mother, Margaret White, sits listening to religious radio, sang by cast members from the aisles of the audience. The religious component of the storyline is emphasized, with Margaret flipping through a bible, calling Carrie’s menstruation a sin and locking her daughter in the cellar adorned with a cross.

Murphy did a wonderful job utilizing the space in the Underground. Not only did the actors use the aisles but there were times when a scene took place in front of the stage to contrast with what was happening behind; however, anyone not sitting in the center section of the audience experienced an obstructed view due to two cylindrical pillars on either side of the stage.

Despite the unfortunate view, the show was an overall success. SU has beyond talented non-drama majors. The lighting was on point and the crew transitioned the simple sets smoothly. At times the sound of the pit competed with the vocalists, but when heard, the harmonies and melodies were perfection to the ears.

Music junior Jesse Scheinbart found out what Carrie was after applying to be music director. “I didn’t quite know what I signed up for but I fell in love with the show,” Scheinbart laughed. ”I think it can be a very heavy, daunting show, but all of the scenes that aren’t gory or sad are funny and engaging and fast-paced.”

What Theatre took on the challenge of the involved show that is Carrie: The Musical and succeeded. Be on the lookout next semester for What Theatre’s spring play, The Rimers of Eldritch.

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