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Colonial Chorus Players 'Assassins' Takes a Reflective Dive into Dark History

The acting is the most impressive part of the show.

By Marielle SabbagPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 3 min read
The cast acting out a scene in Colonial Chorus Players 'Assassins.' Photo Credit by Sabrina Ornae Photography

Every now and then, a madman’s bound to come along.

Colonial Chorus Players presents Assassins with music and lyrics written by Stephen Sondheim and the book written by John Weidman. The show explores the dark motives of infamous people who initiated monstrous acts of violence and political upheaval.

Assassins is a chilling and thought-provoking presentation into the minds of individuals whom you’d never thought to process. I sat, clenching my breath and my body throughout this stellar showcase. Despite the challenging subject matter, Colonial Chorus Players Assassins is an unforgettable journey into the voices of history that are rarely heard.

The acting is the most impressive part of the show. The play features compelling portrayals of dastardly individuals. The cast studied and created authentic personalities of these menacing characters. They put time and energy into manifesting offensive emotions and ideas.

Some historical individuals to name are John Hinckley (Adam Sell), Lynette ‘Squeaky’ Fromme (Abby Seidel), and John Wilkes Booth (Sean Perry). They all converse about their ideas of murder and use them to indict their wrongful doings on others.

The standout performance comes from Stephen Russo as Samuel Byck, whose dictation of captivating monologues on his plans to commit murder is both mesmerizing and disturbing. I rarely broke contact, and my jaw was agape at Russo’s ability to convey the complexities of the character, leaving a lasting impression on the audience.

Director Andrew Rhodes has harbored an interest in staging Assassins since college. Everyone worked as a team to evaluate historical accuracies and depictions of characters.

Rhodes warns audiences that the play may evoke discomfort as it delves into the minds of individuals whose actions have upset history. The emotional connection audiences could feel with these characters may be unsettling.

The dedication and hard work of the crew contributes significantly to the overall impact of the performance. The show boasts more lighting and special effects than any other show at Colonial Chorus Players, creating a visually stunning and immersive experience. Old newspaper clippings and slideshows of significant historical events surround the theater.

The stage design incorporates a small set with American flags strewn about. Although it’s a small stage, actors make excellent use of the space, transforming it into a barn house, a sliding door where windows appear, or props to manifest a car. Costumes by Sarah Wolman accurately depict each period the assassins were from.

Adding a unique twist to the production, Assassins incorporates musical elements with lyrics from Stephen Sondheim. The musical aspect adds another layer of complexity to the storytelling. Conducted by a live orchestra, songs include, ‘The Ballad of Booth,’ ‘The Gun Song,’ and ‘Something Just Broke’ which was almost (but thankfully) not cut.

It is essential to be aware that the show could be triggering for some viewers. One audience member vocalized at the sight of a historical prop used for grim matters. I didn’t realize how much I clenched my body and held my breath. It’s a lot to take in.

Thankfully, there are lighthearted moments to make audiences laugh. Abby Seidel and Michelle Doucet (Sara Jane Moore) are humorous in their scenes and comedic timing.

Hear me out, Assassins is not based on a light topic. It depicts serious subject matter about violence, murder, and the usage of guns. Actors constantly fire replica firearms throughout the show. The sound effects are loud. Please be aware that it is all an illusion and the production uses safety protocols.

Colonial Chorus Players Assassins is currently sold out February 2-11, but if any tickets open up, I would not hesitate to buy one. Witness a compelling exploration of history's darkest chapters through exceptional storytelling.

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About the Creator

Marielle Sabbag

Writing has been my passion since I was 11 years old. I love creating stories from fiction, poetry, fanfiction. I enjoy writing movie reviews. I would love to become a creative writing teacher and leave the world inspiring minds.

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