The fading atmosphere of “The Dining Room”

“The Dining Room” is by far the best play Radford University has presented so far this semester. I was impressed by how well each actor portrayed the complexities of their characters and how the lighting and costumes added to the diminishing atmosphere that revolved around the dining room. The scenes were well constructed and the sounds that echoed off the walls amplified the richness of the play.

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“The Dining Room” is by far the best play Radford University has presented so far this semester. Photo from Nytimes.com.

I was very happy with the casting of the play. They were very believable and I couldn’t keep my eyes off of them. The actors did a tremendous job changing their personas for each character. At first, I was a little confused when the character changes happened, but minor costume changes helped alleviate some of that confusion. The costumes helped confirm what time period each scene occurred in. The props — like the blue bag held by the saleswoman in the beginning of the play or the cell phone used by the hormonal teenager — seemed a little too modern.

The scenes didn’t change in a major way so set changes were quick. Props individualized each scene in order to distinguish between families. The lights stayed at a constant intensity for most of the play. A spotlight was only used once, which enhanced the seriousness of the scene. I was extremely touched by the harmonized voices of the children that sang to their sick mother. The play had a nice balance of amusing and heartbreaking scenes.

“The Dining Room” elicits laughter and heartbreak with every breath the actors take. The believability and entertainment value is through the roof. The costumes, lighting, music and actors blended together to enhance the complexities of the play. This play had a good run and was enjoyable to anyone who values worthy entertainment and takes a measure of interest in the extinction of domestic ways of life. I would suggest prior research of the play in order to relieve any confusion. I was very moved by this play, and I’m confident that others will have the same reaction.