You can’t always achieve your dreams. It’s not a concept people like to mention publicly, especially at a college. We’re in a time where popular media is filled with “coming of age” optimistic stories that reaffirm the relevance and possibilities that we as individuals assume to have. Now while this may be a needlessly dark and meta view on society, it’s still an argument that we should at least under- stand, especially when we find ourselves facing a harsh reality.
Life isn’t necessarily clear cut, black or white, or good or bad; sometimes the right answer simply doesn’t exist. Even from the title itself to the very ending of the production In Finite Potential ex- presses the cruelties and ambiguity that exist in life. In Finite Potential, written by Esther Kruman ’18 and directed by Peri Ganbarg ‘18, dives into the surreal mind of a poor woman grieving after losing something so precious to her that she had been willing to sacrifice her previous happiness because she believed in
its future (no spoilers though). In Finite Potential offers a brief window of time showing us the emotionally electrifying climactic confrontation between Cassandra, played by Carrie Dickson ‘18, and Dulcinea, played by Laura Diorio ‘20, who were once friends but over the past several years have spiraled into a complex and antagonistic relationship. The play is just a scene with two people simply being human at each other when both are in positions that they never expected to be in and that they don’t yet fully understand.
I was given the rare opportunity to watch one of the last rehearsals of In Fi- nite Potential before the madness of tech- week with three other performances set in. There, I was able to witness the grueling emotional struggles of the characters and the equally grueling struggles of the two actors and their director as they all attempt to discover the world of this play. The unusual mix of hyper realism in a near fantastically complex situation starts to test the limits of what can actually be done while still maintaining Stanislavski’s “art of experience” method for
acting. In fact, about halfway through the re-
hearsal, I experienced one of the most entertaining renditions of Meisner’s environmental reaction technique where the only thing keeping me from laughing out loud was the amount of believability that went into every word shouted and every chair thrown. For those of you out there who don’t really know about Stanislavski and Meisner, like me, just know that doing their work makes for some very professional theater (although I don’t think they’re actually getting paid for this).
It’s no secret that theater here at Muhlenberg is very competitive and held to a certain level of prestige; Princeton says we’re number one at it after all. Either way, it seems like being in a mainstage production here can become a symbol for some sort of chosen few who stand above everyone else. The connotations around mainstage productions have become elitist to a certain extent – one member of the cast expressed her concern about seeming arrogant if she mentioned being in a mainstage.
Issues with the less tangible parts of our college aside, watching the rehearsal for In Finite Potential made it very clear that Ganbarg (director), Dickson (Cassandra), and Diorio (Dulcinea) were there for a reason and they more than deserve their mainstage distinction. Just as Cassandra and Dulcinea had shared an unlikely friendship, both Dickson and Diorio have surprising backgrounds for their roles in this play. Dickson, with her labyrinth of emotional complexities, has spent most of her college career in the circus, in musicals, or dancing. Diorio, with her mature disposition and seemingly enigmatic desires, has just started her second year here. My point is that when two actors (such as Dickson and Diorio) merge to a point of almost singularity, a whole other level to theater is exposed for the actors to illuminate and the audience to interpret.
When you put together all these ele- ments of Kruman’s brilliant writing, Ganbarg’s meticulous directing and Dickson and Diorio’s beautiful relationship, you get what I believe to be a play that truly has “Infinite Potential.”