Unsatisfactory University – by Kaya Romeo

March 26, 2013 in Blog by Cindy-Bandle-Young-Critics

When most stories seem to focus on static characters that are either wholly good or evil with very little room left for the completely realistic in between then “Teddy Ferrara” is markedly different because it  allows the audience to gather a complete picture of the characters in the show.  The show tells the story of the a university’s reaction to a subtle yet very negative atmosphere towards queer students.

“Teddy Ferrara” contains very real and relatable characters and seems to focus on making every character three-dimensional. The show also goes as far as to criticize the simplification of suicide victims to the level of just victims. By making them more than just a “kind, misunderstood unique soul” and instead into an actual human being with flaws and strengths. By making the characters more three – dimensional and by having multiple storylines, Christopher Shinn makes the play seem less like an afterschool special or a PSA and more like an accurate account of the life of the characters. While watching the show, I didn’t feel like I was being preached at instead of being talked to. “Teddy Ferrara” did an exemplary job of showing that no situation is black and white and exploring all of the muddy and difficult gray areas that tend to surround death and mourning..

Seating is very important when seeing this show because the stage is bisected and if you sit in the center you’ll end up seeing a lot of the back of the actors heads. Which I personally didn’t mind but on another day I would find it extremely distracting. The staging of this show is really considerate of the subject matter which I appreciated. The set isn’t permanent and everything is transient .  As soon as a scene is over the entire orientation of the stage may change.This matches the way technology has made me and my generation veiw life. One click and everything changes. One choice and everything changes.

The ending of the show was a bit unsatisfying. The polished ending to the show made it seem like the director was trying to make me feel as though I should be content with the way the show ends. That these issues can be neatly wrapped up and declared solved. I would feel more comfortable with the way uncomplete seeming ending to the show if it felt like that was the intention. If the point was that it  felt like the ending wasn’t satisfying because the way that colleges and universities handle queer issues isn’t enough.