Meet the Hanslick Girls: Gwen, Eleanor, and Dania. A fictional trio created by writer Zach Barr, their opinions on theatre are varied, resulting in vibrant discussions and disagreements. While Gwen tends to be more critical of the theatrical arts, Dania just wants to see a show that entertains enjoyably. Eleanor balances the other two as they trade opinions. Let’s listen in on what they had to say while leaving Arts Alliance’s “Assassins…”
As she left Shanley Pavilion, Gwen was almost shaking with glee.
“There you are,” said Eleanor. “We’ve been waiting.”
“I should have brought a warmer jacket,” Dania added, pulling her collar up.
“Sorry, sorry, I just had to tell everyone they did a good job,” Gwen replied. She folded and pocketed her program as they began to walk away.
“So you liked it,” Eleanor said, provokingly.
“Yes!” Gwen squealed. “God, this show is so stupidly good! The writing and the music and the characters…it’s all just such a good idea and they execute it perfectly.”
“I really enjoyed it,” Eleanor added, agreeing.
“I know! It’s not an easy show to direct and they did a really good job with it.”
“I liked most of it,” Dania said. “I had trouble hearing lyrics in a few of the songs, because of the orchestra.”
“Oh, yeah,” Gwen continued. “I guess they could have put them behind the black curtains instead of in front of them. That could have muffled the sound a little. But it’s great to see a StuCo show with an orchestra of more than five!”
“I suppose,” Eleanor said, “it adds a certain importance to the show that it’s in an election year. Or, during an election cycle.”
“To be sure, to be sure.” Gwen fixed her hair. “And that it opened on the day of that shooting in Oregon? God, the bravery of the cast.”
“I was thinking about that the whole time,” Dania murmured.
“It goes to show. The musical is always relevant,” Gwen said. “Man, it’s such a good script!”
“Is it gender-bent like that in the script?” Dania asked.
“No, the script plays it all straight. And the framing device about the regular people dressing as the assassins isn’t there, it’s just…the assassins there on stage.”
“Oh,” said Dania. “Were they supposed to just be dressed as them here?”
“Yeah, there was some kind of fairground, dress-up, carnival aesthetic to the show. This production, I mean.”
“Hm. That makes sense now.”
“But the gender swapping and all didn’t really distract from the story, I thought,” Eleanor said, jumping back in.
“No, not really. If anything, it made it clearer that the issues are human, rather than connected to the individual people who did it.”
Dania looked up. “So wait, did those two women know each other and try to kill the same president? Or were they working together and something…”
“Who, Fromme and Moore? I think they were a few weeks apart. But no, they didn’t know each other. That was condensed for the show.”
“You know the show really well, Gwen,” Eleanor said, impressed.
“I just…” Gwen smiled. “I just really like this script.”
“I’ll have to see another production of it to decide what I think about it,” Dania said, looking back dow
Gwen’s eyes darted to her friend. “Did you like this one?”
“Oh, yeah, I liked it all right,” Dania clarified. “The performances were all good, and its…you know, it’s one of those ‘dark shows,’ about how America’s all corrupt and all. So it’s a little pessimistic…”
“Well, only a little bit.”
“It’s pretty pessimistic for me,” Dania said.
“Well, there’s that last song,” Eleanor said quickly. “Where they were holding the banners and made the flag? I thought that was the assassins regretting their actions a little bit.”
“Maybe here, yeah,” Gwen thought.
There was an expectant pause.
“In the script,” Gwen continued, “there’s an ensemble, so the assassins don’t sing that.”
“Yeah.” Gwen grabbed her program again, and quickly added, “but here, with Alex’s vision for the show, it really worked. I thought.”
“No, I enjoyed it pretty well. Lots of good performances, quick pace, some good comedic moments.”
Dania laughed. “I did really like that one guy, the Ambassador to France guy.”
“Is that him? Yeah, he was really funny.”
Gwen nodded in agreement. “They staged his song really well. It’s a hard scene to stage.”
Dania continued. “And the scene with the…tall guy and the protester woman. Where he’s in love with her? That was adorable!”
Eleanor laughed. “Do you ship them?”
“Czolgosz and Emma Goldman?”
“Yeah.” Eleanor turned to Gwen. “Do you ship Czol-Goldman-osz? Czoldmanosz? Whatever?”
Dania blushed. “Maybe a little.”
“I totally do to, don’t worry.”
Eleanor and Dania laughed. Gwen looked at the program again, trying to figure out who played Booth – she had been very similar to Michael Cerveris, and Gwen wondered if that was a deliberate choice or not.