by David Hawkins
Last Thursday, the Dorman Theatre Department performed To Destroy You Is No Loss, the one-act play they brought to USC Aiken for SCSTA that following weekend.
This dark one-act play is based off of the book of the same name by Joan Criddle and it was adapted by Dorothea Hubble Bonneau. The production was directed by Pam Haloulos with light design by Rebecca Wolfe and a crew comprised of Justice Schuyler, Carley Ballard, and Kalista Pederson.
The story is set in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge occupation in the 1970’s. It follows the real experiences of fifteen-year-old Teeda Butt Mam. Teeda and her family as they witness war, death, and imprisonment. The title itself is derived from the Khmer Rouge slogan, “To keep you is no benefit; to destroy you is no loss,” used to keep the Cambodian people in submission.
The actors in this play portray the hopelessness of the subject matter very well. You can feel the fear and despair emanating from their performances. Some highlights include Leena Bishop’s character Peap as she is taken away and put to death, or Teeda, portrayed by Kit Lindsey, writes in her journal and contemplates life and the horrors she has faced.
This play also shows a huge range in these actors. Perrion Porter can go from playing a hilarious Donkey in Shrek: the Musical to playing the hopeful yet tragic Si Ton. Evelyn Shrader can go from the gossipy Beverly Hall in The Groom Has Cold Feet to the innocent and scared Tevi. This ability for an actor to go from one character to an almost polar opposite character really is a testament to that actor’s talent.
Overall the entire cast did a great job bringing this tragic story to life. The simple, minimalist set worked well. It was not bright or colorful, as that would interfere with the tone of the story and possibly draw the audience away from the characters and their struggles.
To Destroy You Is No Loss was an excellent one-act play but it is only a slice of the skills behind Dorman’s Theatre Department. Want to see more? Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be brought to life on the stage of the Fine Arts Center by director Pam Haloulos. The show will be shown on November 16th and 17th at 7 PM and November 18th at 2 PM and 7 PM. Tickets are $5 but the experience of a Dorman production is priceless.