BWW Reviews: HOUSEBOUND Sets Bar High for Student Productions
University of Wisconsin senior and acting specialist student, Hannah Ripp-Dieter set the bar for student written pieces high this week, with her performance of her senior thesis, Housebound. The show, with book by Hannah Ripp-Dieter and music by Hannah Ripp-Dieter, Meghan Rose, and Jake Ripp-Dieter, far surpasses the expectations for a student written piece. Housebound is clever, charming, and different, with a perfect balance of serious and comic moments. With well developed characters in a love story that is entirely unique, I would have easily believed someone if I had been told it was not written by an undergraduate student. Ripp-Dieter displays talent not only in performing, but in writing music and crafting a story as well.
The cast of two consisted of Ripp-Dieter herself along with Cody Luck, a dynamic duo who compliment each other nicely on stage. Communication was clearly important in this piece, and the staging by director Trevor Rees, allows for a real line of communication between the two. A very genuine performance, it allowed the show to really take a life of its own, and it transitioned from page to stage quite nicely. Ripp-Dieter's earnest performance was incredibly refreshing, and the telling of the story was almost as if hearing a story from an old friend. It was easy to get swept up in the story, expertly told through the voice of Ripp-Dieter.
The set and lighting were also incredibly impressive for student work in a small space. Set design by Shannon Plunkett and lights by Briana Miller bring a certain level of professionalism in production to the piece that allow people to get past the knowledge that the production was student driven, which is always risky business. Student performances have a reputation as either being a true hit or miss, and with beautiful music, smooth staging, excellent production value, and a charming story with a beautifully earnest performance, Housebound was certainly a hit.
Photo Credit: Rob Stepek