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Volume 71, Issue 77, Friday, January 27, 2006

Life & Arts

'Engines' driven by an abstract vision

The Daily Cougar

The UH School of Theatre's student group The Unheard Voices will end its run of Waiting for Engines this weekend. The play, written by English doctoral candidate Andrew Kozma, is a lesson in unconformity for those unfamiliar with the unconventional. 

The play ventures on the technophobic as it deals with the issue of how computers are affecting how we interact with the world.

"The play is about people trying to find relationships with other people in a world where people are becoming obsolete," director and UH theater alumna Erin Kidwell said. Kidwell admitted her style tends to lean toward the avant-garde, but she feels it is something patrons should be exposed to. 

Kidwell said the set was the biggest issue, as Kozma was very particular about how it was to be set up.

"In the script, it calls for boxes and pillars to be used in the beginning and for the set to become more realistic as time went on," Kidwell said. Anyone who has seen Engines performed can understand why: The moving of the scenery becomes part of the play and adds to the confusion that Kidwell says, while distracting, was intentional. 

The play examines the relationship of two characters: Nathan (theater sophomore Cameron Dunbar) and Diana (theater junior Julie Gomez). Kidwell said her main goal was based on the audience's interpretation of the pair's situation. 

"I felt that as long as people could grasp the relationship between Diana and Nathan and (that) they were having difficulty connecting, I felt that everything else could be confusing and it would be OK," Kidwell said.

Although Kidwell said she felt the play was successful in reaching that goal, she admits some of the confusion didn't come across as well as she wanted it to.

"My attempt was to make the concept a part of the confusion," Kidwell said. "I think if there were a lot of things different about the design of the play and some of the blocking that that concept could have worked, but I don't think it did in this production."

However, Kidwell said the process was a learning experience.

"I feel definitely better prepared for the next venture," she said. 

Engines is showing at the Midtown Art Center, 3414 La Branch Street, with performances at 7:30 p.m and 9:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $5.

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