By Amber Ford
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Madness and laughter await those who attend the Camden County College Readers’ Theatre Project production of Say, Dada!: An Avant-Garde Revue. The production will hit the stage of the Dennis Flyer Memorial Theatre on April 26 and rehearsals are in full swing.
Red feather boas, handlebar mustaches, oversized fur coats, red high heels, and guys wearing girls’ outfits are just a few of the things that will fill the stage in Say, Dada!: An Avant-Garde Revue.
“There’s no such thing as subtly in avant-garde; it’s bold, brightly colored, and unforgiving,” says Allison Green, the producer of the show as well as a professor at CCC and the artistic director of the Readers’ Theatre.
Say, Dada!: An Avant-Garde Revue was adapted by James Patrick, a professor at CCC, and is being directed by him as well.
“Say, Dada!: An Avant-Garde Revue will present an evening of sketches, readings from poetic works and manifestos, music and art of the period, both delightful and provocative,” reads the show’s flyer.
Curt Whipple, a cast member in the show and an English adjunct at CCC, says the show consists of vignettes. “They’re little scenes connected to one basic scene, like mini-scenes.”
Dada! covers what the avant-garde artists saw, addressed, grieved, and mocked from living through the horrors of World War I, its aftermath and the period of wild excess that followed, the Great Depression, and the rise of Nazism and Fascism that sparked World War II.
The audience may even notice a reflection of the excesses happening in current politics and media. The poets, playwrights, painters, composers, and sculptors during this period didn’t just see the insanity coming, but they reacted to it to show everyone how insane they were acting.
“I think the reactions of the artists who wrote the art that’s in the piece is what we’re seeing now about the current regimen in Washington,” says Green. “It’s madness. This is what the artists were commenting on, it’s that kind of absurdity that avant-garde comments on.”
Patrick advises audience members to expect surprises. “I think almost everything will surprise them. I guarantee people who come see the show have never seen anything like this, and that’s a big guarantee,” says Patrick.
When asked what she thinks will surprise the audience most, Green erupted in laughter before saying, “Everything.”
Green says she thinks the show will give the audience another dimension to how they understand the world and see human beings. “I think it’s important that while we’re entertaining, it’s important to expand people’s horizons,” Green says.
Emily Winters, a history major at CCC who has four different roles in Say, Dada!: An Avant-Garde Revue, describes the show as zany. “It’s such a wild ride and an eccentric topic,” says Winters. “It’s just crazy; it’s a crazy art form.”
Winters says she knew the show had to be amazing since Green was involved. “I did Readers’ Theatre so I knew she was amazing,” Winters says. “I’m also a history major so this is my period and I was like, ‘I have to do this.’”
Say, Dada!: An Avant-Garde Revue will be staged at 5 p.m. April 26, 8 p.m. April 27 and 2 and 8 p.m. April 28 in the Dennis Flyer Memorial Theatre on the Blackwood campus of Camden County College. Admission is free, but donations will be gratefully accepted.