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‘Collision’ explores crucial, intriguing questions

Posted on February 6, 2013 | by Leora Rosenberg

Set in a college dorm room, “Collision” explores its characters’ attempts to form a consistent moral compass. Grange, a well-spoken, radical philosophy major, exerts a charismatic and sociopathic influence over his impressionable roommate, Bromley. He arranges for both of them to bed Doe, a classmate, and the experience irrecoverably bonds them. Grange charms Professor Denton next, and then he guides the deterioration of the foursome’s morality.

The resulting conversation is an unusual and wonderful show. Lyle Kessler, the playwright, does not feed his audience easy entertainment. Kessler simply allows the audience to watch as the four friends take on increasingly important roles in each other’s psyches, while also containing their social lives solely in one room.

However, Kessler’s storytelling is sometimes sloppy.  He leaves Doe woefully underdeveloped, and Denton’s appearance seems implausible. But the group bonding remains engaging. They perform acts of escalating violence, and the lack of a storyline becomes the most compelling aspect.

“Collision” is the rare play that manages to explore ennui without boring its audience. Even an hour in, it’s not clear how the show will end. The climax must provide either an emotionally satisfying explanation of what scarred these students or give a chilling demonstration of the horrors scarred people can inflict. The tension builds, and the students must either face their demons or explode. The resolution underlines the play’s thematic core.

The script of “Collision” intentionally ignores important questions. What about the people outside this room? Why has nobody noticed the characters’ deteriorations? What are the warning signs? Who could help and how? What kind of society lets this happen? By focusing instead on the damage that could have been avoided, Kessler leaves his unasked questions to fester and nag.

“Collision” is presented by the Rattlestick Theater Company at 224 Waverly Place and is playing now through Feb. 17.

Leora Rosenberg is a staff writer. Email her at


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Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

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