'A Clockwork Orange' hits The Vault stage this spooky season
The cast and director of Bag&Baggage's "A Clockwork Orange" want to make it clear this show is nothing like the movie.
After sitting down with Cassie Greer, the creative director of Hillsboro's professional company, and the director of the play, as well as the all-male cast, it is apparent the story will have Bag&Baggage signature features, such as experimental sets and dancelike movement.
While audiences might be familiar with the 1962 novel by Anthony Burgess, labeled as one of the greatest English language books of all time, or the
1971 cult film by Stanley Kubrick, which rattled
film buffs around the world, the play wants to
stretch beyond both.
In the story, protagonist Alex is a lover of Beethoven and leads a gang nicknamed "the Droogs" set in a dystopian United Kingdom. The play is an Off-Broadway adaptation written by the novel's original author Burgess after the Kubrick film came out.
Audiences should see the show because it infuses themes of violence, captured through music and movement, Greer said.
"There is this boy who has this love for Beethoven; he begins to make up songs to go along with his work," she said. "This has a strong musical component, which is new to Bag&Baggage, and because there are strong themes of violence, we've really worked with movement-like dance instead of combat choreography.
In terms of a show for us, we've never done something with this much pseudo-dancing and music."
The all-male cast is led by an all-female identifying directing and choreography team.
"I appreciate we have two women working on this," Greer said. "The testosterone-filled show has this balance of feminine voices, and stepping in to do this show where we casted just men because in the script, all the female roles in the show were victims or tiny side characters. One of the things the story grapples with is youthful, masculine energy that easily gets channeled into destruction and how society doesn't teach how to use that energy creatively."
Burgess wrote the play in the 1980s because he didn't see the movie addressing the themes he wanted to portray in his book. He wanted to push his readers to examine human nature and the power of choice, Greer said, leading the show to be the antithesis, or opposite, of what the film conveyed.
"This is a celebration of the universe that 'A Clockwork Orange' takes place in," said cast member Eric St. Cyr.
"As I have told people about the show, a lot of people say the movie was too much for them to watch," said Aaron Cooper Swor, who plays the main character, Alex. "I explain, this overcomes the reputation it has, and we have a lot of fun here on stage with movement."
Greer hopes the audience will engage with the vision Bag&Baggage took on to present the story inspired by Burgess' vision.
"We're working with the idea of the set having weight," Greer said. "It's concrete slabs and pretty stark. Projections are also how we show the various worlds the characters are living in. The costumes are simple, stripped away and basic. The author really wanted to get to the heart of these issues, so
we decided to try to encapsulate characters using one costume piece to identify them."
Not only will the play be performed throughout October, but Bag&Baggage is teaming up with the Hillsboro Public Library to dig deeper into the story by hosting two book club meetings. From 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, at the Brookwood Library, 2850 N.E. Brookwood Parkway, participants can discuss the book together. Book club participants get $5 off their show ticket.
A second meeting from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16, invites participants to return to The Vault Theater to compare and contrast the show and the book. To register for both, visit the Washington County Cooperative Library Services website.
The two-hour play will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, and at 2 p.m. Sundays, through Oct. 27. "A Clockwork Orange" is recommended for ages 18 and up. The Thursday, Oct. 10, show is "Pay What You Will Night," meaning entrance is what-ever people can pay; cash preferred.
For more information, visit bagnbaggage.org.
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