Second Annual Play Held at the Big Red Barn

Students perform in Marvin's Room

Photo by Simon Wheeler

By Katya Hrichak

Marketed as “the culmination of a year’s worth of hard work (and constructive procrastination),” the Big Red Barn (BRB) Players recently concluded their run of Scott McPherson’s Marvin’s Room. Held on April 22, 25, and 27 in the Big Red Barn and funded by the BRB Cultural Fellow program, Marvin’s Room told a story of sickness, care, and interpersonal relationships.

The decision to perform Marvin’s Room was easy, according to play organizer, BRB Cultural Fellow, and Asian studies doctoral student Andrew Harding. Although the BRB Players enjoyed participating in Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge in 2018, they wanted a play that came closer to passing the Bechdel test, which requires scenes in which female characters have substantive conversations on topics other than men.

The play also required the ability to be performed in a limited space with a limited cast and budget. This year’s cast was composed of just seven students under the direction of Ana Pantin, but the hard work was worth it, according to Harding, who said the cast members from last year’s production were eager to participate for the second year in a row.

The seven-person cast of Marvin's Room
The cast of Marvin’s Room. Photo by Simon Wheeler.

“There are precious few opportunities for graduate students to get involved in acting without getting involved in a serious, semi-professional local production – which for many is too big a commitment on top of research and teaching responsibilities – or without paying for acting classes,” said Harding. “I thought, and still think, that there is a real demand for a casual, low-stakes outlet for those of us who have the acting bug.”

As long as Harding is a student at Cornell, he intends to continue organizing a yearly play. Anyone interested in becoming involved is invited to stay tuned for an acting workshop to be held near the beginning of the Fall 2019 semester.

Ticket sales and donations generated by the event totaling $600 were donated to the Cornell Chapter of Camp Kesem, a college student-driven national charity that supports children through their parents’ battles with cancer.

Katya Hrichak is a communications assistant in the Graduate School.