The department’s two fall productions were a huge success, playing to packed houses and garnering excellent reviews. Gem of the Ocean, which opened on October 17, filled the Colwell Playhouse. The News Gazette’s reviewer described it as “powerful, complex, and sacramental.” She called the production “first rate,” singling out lighting, scenic design, and new dance work for praise. A reviewer in the local indie paper, Smile Politely, called the show “near-perfect,” saying it “…is edging its way toward the top of my best of 2019 list.”
No less a success, Titus Andronicus used the intimacy of the Studio Theatre to its best effect. A reviewer in The News-Gazette found it captivating and bracing, noting that it was “not for the faint of heart.” Smile Politely saw Titus as relevant and cathartic, noting that the production took risks that paid off. Both reviews highlighted the intensity of the experience, and Smile Politely particularly reflected on the stand-out role of student-actor Leojae Payton in the role of Aaron.