This weekend the University of Montana Western is offering a three night production in The Bank of Commerce Performing Arts Series "He Said and She Said". Each night consists of three performances: Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven" presented by a different person each of the three nights, Ray Lewis' "52 Cards" presented by Brandon Hunter, and "He Said and She Said," a play in one act by Alice Gerstenberg.
Thursday night's performance showcased the talent in UM Western's campus halls. The first performance, "The Raven", presented by Paul Helfrich, set the night's tone with a beautifully eerie reading of the famous poem. Although the words are familiar to most, the emotional tole of Helfrich's performance captivated the audience. With creepy lighting and background sounds, you couldn't help but feel the poem come alive before your eyes.
The second performance, "52 Cards", provided a more modern outlook on the world. Brandon Hunter portrayed the inner turmoil of a teenage boy perfectly. With each line, he delved deeper into the emotional struggle of today's world. This reading provided a poignant simplicity to Ray Lewis' story. These two performances accounted for roughly thirty minutes well spent.
After a ten minute intermission, "He Said and She Said" took the stage. This half hour play was comically enchanting. It had an "I Love Lucy" toned down vibe, but packed with the same amount of entertainment value. Ryanne Hostetter's performance had the audience chuckling throughout the web of accusations. The four actors illustrated the rapid fire pace of gossip and the triumph of overcoming such simple mindedness. With director Cole Irwin at the helm of this charming piece of art, you could feel the fresh outlook from this play set in 1910s suburban America.
There is so much untapped potential in southwestern Montana, and it was a joy to watch our small town's talent at work. For a mere $10 admission fee, you can't go wrong!
P. S. The only frustrating part of the night was finding where this night of performances was held. If you have a problem finding the play, it is is located in the small auditorium (Main Hall 314). Use the Beier Auditorium door go to the third floor and take a right.