Ashley Mullen ’15
At 7:30 p.m. on April 10, the Trinity Commons Performance Lab presented Anthony Rosado’s senior thesis performance, “And what do we do about all of this? Parts work, a methodology.” With the collaboration of Sarah Watson ’15 as Selby, Henry Moorhead ’14 as Harry, Mary Iris Loncto ’16 as Lucy, Jonathan Gonzalez ’13 as Vinnie, and Juan Vasquez ’14 as Georgette, Rosado created a hauntingly beautiful work that captured raw, rarely-conveyed emotions with a voice both poetic and melancholic.
On Wednesday night, Rosado’s senior thesis performance drew a full house from all over Hartford. As a free admission performance, there were no limits to the amount of people in attendance, forcing the audience to crowd into the three rows of the performance lab and overflow into the surrounding side aisles. Fortunately, students and faculty members alike were glad to squeeze closely together in order to be able to watch the anticipated performance. The tittering and excitement of the crowd was tangible as the beginning of the performance drew closer, creating an optimistic and encouraging atmosphere in support of Rosado’s work.
In a chaotic scene scattered with trash, clothes, and overturned tables and couches, the work opened with four figures lying seemingly unconscious around an unlit stage. As they each woke up and rose from their positions, Rosado illustrated a carefully crafted sequence of actions in which every character’s movement was just one part of a collective whole. The stage was left dark except for the light emanating from a single open door, which cast a long, eerie shadow across the dismal scene. With the awakening of the characters, four desk lamps are turned on in each of the four corners of the stage, illuminating the destroyed setting and revealing the dark, bruised bags under the eyes of each emerging figure. Using this combination of props and lighting, Rosado fashioned a new reality in his work, one that was kept open to interpretation and left the audience reeling by its end. The rarity of the dialogue was seen in the inclusion of only a few monologues that were expressed in poetic verses and spoken with a Shakespearean eloquence that moved the audience to a still and unmoving silence. With a stream of consciousness style, the dialogue proceeded without any decipherable order or meaning, only revealing fragments of feelings and images both unsettling and lovely at once.
But what those who did not attend fail to understand is what was left over from this monumental absence of voices. Instead of the boring, uneventful silence that is expected, Rosado communicated through action, facial expression, and above all, the primitive, instinctual noises that convey emotions not easily articulated by words. From the grunting commotion of a physical struggle to the blood-curdling screams of rage to the helpless sobbing and moaning, Rosado revealed the very existence of emotions that have always been the hardest for any creator, be it an artist, author, director, or playwright, to truly express.
Every choreographed interaction, the violent fights, the redeeming embraces, the panicked scratching, the frustrated scrubbing, all correspond to raw emotions that every person is able to relate to in some form or another, and this relatable quality is what makes Rosado’s work stand out amongst all others. There is no humorous, witty banter, or impressively harmonized musical numbers, but instead a haunting realness that is created through discordant, anticlimactic events that have no single meaning or interpretation. This randomness directly simulates the commonplace of existence, the reality that life does not build up towards a carefully constructed climax, but is instead filled with sometimes-inexpressible emotions and snapshots of inescapable memories that are constantly present, but not always voiced with Rosado’s poetic poignancy.
Without the absolute dedication and enthusiasm of each and every one of the actors, who all collaborated with Rosado in the creation of his thesis, the raw emotion and painful realism of the piece would not have been convincing enough to be memorable. But as it was, the delicate intertwining of the talents of both author and actor gave birth to a profound realness of feeling that resonated with the audience and gave Rosado and his cast a standing ovation.