Story by Bridget Gibley, Culture Editor
Photos courtesy of AQ Theatre
AQ Theatre just finished the fall semester with another magical performance. “The Illusion,” written by Pierre Corneille and loosely adapted by Tony Kushner, ran Dec. 6-9 in the Performing Arts Center on Aquinas’ campus.
The play starts with an aging lawyer, played by junior Devin Boxey, arriving in a wizard’s cave, seeking information about his son. The wizard, a stunningly mischievous Lukas Isenga, a senior, conjures illusions of what the lawyer’s son has been doing in the years since his father drove him out of his house. The audience is then taken on a wild ride through scenes of love, loss, jealousy, betrayal, and just about every other emotion possible.
A disclaimer: I have thoroughly enjoyed every AQ Theatre production I’ve seen so far, so I might be biased. However, usually there are one or two standout performances in a show. In “The Illusion,” every actor stood out as excelling in their role (or roles, as many actors played more than one).
Senior Tanner Kosten, junior Bryanna Lee, and junior Ian Reul were wonderful as the three corners of a love triangle. While Kosten and Reul’s physical comedy stood out, particularly in a rather tame fight scene in the first illusion, Lee’s facial expressions were spot-on in every scene. She drew the audience in and did not let go until the lights went down.
In the second illusion, the love triangle became more complicated as these three were joined by the always-fantastic senior Brock Gabbert, whose Matamore was bumbling and exaggerated with pride, and junior Emily Cipriano, whose Lyse was the perfect mix of meddling and uncertain.
Senior Christina Gonzalez was stoic and mysterious as The Amanuensis, the wizard Aclandre’s assistant. The scene where she joins the illusions and is finally able to speak and act as a new character, she completely commanded the stage.
When I say “every actor stood out,” I mean every actor stood out. Senior Joi Adams, sophomore Kaeleb Cogswell, freshman Olivia Dybing, junior Bridgette Slezak, and senior Lauren Washburn were charming and endearing as the sprites, who played a variety of roles throughout the play.
This show was also incredibly stunning visually, featuring a cave-like set that was often filled with swirling and reflecting lights. It was easy to get lost in the play with a beautiful set like this.
AQ Theatre might be done for the semester, but they are already getting ready for next semester. The theatre department will present “The Moors” February 21-24. For more information about AQ Theatre, click here.
Bridget Gibley is a junior at Aquinas studying English, Spanish and Women’s Studies. She thrives on reading, writing, and lots of coffee.