Over the last week, the Drew University Dramatic Society (DUDS) staged a production of “The Angry Brigade” from Feb. 24 until Feb. 26 at the Thomas H. Kean Theater. Written by James Graham and directed by Tessa Bagby (‘22), the play was based on a true story and featured a group of police attempting to capture a radical-left group of anarchists in London in the late 60’s.
The play was extremely well-staged and the narrative was compelling. The first act of the play told the story from the perspective of the special police task force assigned to catch the brigade.The second act featured the anarchists’ points of view. The storyline for the brigade went back and forth between their daily activities and memories from their past.
“The actors were phenomenal, and had a great ability to roll with whatever happened on stage,” Joe Stankus (‘22) said.
Characters were played by actors who switched roles over the course of the performance. Student actors KJ Herwig (‘22), Raya Smith (‘25), Donny Gaynor (‘25) and Alexa Kerr (‘25) played the roles skillfully.
“Playing multiple characters allowed them to show off huge amounts of range and talent,” Stankus said. “I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Specifically, Eli Hatcher (‘23) played four separate roles while Erin Groudis-Gimbel (‘22) played three. All characters were well developed and felt like they were different people due to their outfits and personalities.
The framing of the show made it easy to see the contrast between the more conservative police group and the more free-thinking radical ideals of the anarchists. It was easy to see both groups’ assets and flaws through the interactions between the characters and the environments they were in.
Other details of the show also supported the plot and added to its communicative abilities. For example, as the first act progressed, the costumes and appearances of the special agents became more and more disheveled. In the second act, the strobing lights and sparse set helped convey the anarchists’ free spirits and yearning for decreased structure in society. This was also helped by the way in which the storyline for the second act moved back and forth between the Angry Brigade’s daily activities and memories.