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The Visit: How far would you go to save your town?

Review of “The Visit”

Is it possible to buy justice? If so, how much would it cost? How much money would be necessary to assuage the guilt that might come with it? Is the death of one man at the hands of a town full of innocent people justified if it means the salvation of those very townspeople? These are questions that “The Visit” – a comedy-tragedy play set in the devastated town of Gullen – begs the answer to.

Many months of hard work were put into the development and perfection of this philosophical and dramatic play by various Oglethorpe students and faculty. The play ran for four days from April 12 to 15 in the Conant Performing Arts Center. Perhaps it is the talent of those involved, or maybe the Core classes truly have taught Ogles to think philosophically, but the play leaves the viewer with more questions than answers.

The play centers around one common theme: justice. The town of Gullen has fallen into disrepair and poverty. Their only hope is a former resident, Claire Zachanassian, who is rich beyond imagine and is coming to visit her hometown. Indeed, she agrees to donate a billion dollars to the town and its people in order to get it back on its feet.

However, she has one condition. They must murder Anton Schill, a favorite of the town and next in line for Burgomaster. Schill and Claire had an affair when they were teens, in which Claire got pregnant and the town condemned her to be a whore, all because Schill didn’t stick up for her.

“You wanted time to be suspended, just a moment ago, in the woods of our youth, so full of impermanence. Now I have suspended it, and now I want justice, justice for a billion,” said Claire. Her character – played by junior Gillian Rabin – is full of dynamic and powerful quotes that often left the audience silent and in shock. She is a fiery-haired, haughty, accented woman who forgets nothing and believes money can buy all.

Schill – played by sophomore Clarence Atsma – on the other hand, is a forgetful, shifty character who never owns up to what he does. He redeems himself toward the end, though, as he accepts his tragic fate. The town is full of good people who just want to see themselves prosper, but who fall into Claire’s trap of money and big words.

“The Visit” perpetuates a narrative of self-doubt, revenge, and what the definition of justice is, all while bringing in quirky characters and humorous side narratives. Despite being only in their early 20s, the Oglethorpe students were able to tackle this deep theme with poise and professionalism.

If you missed this play, keep your eye out for performances next semester.

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