Kill the Ant exterminates human judgement

by Beacon Staff • March 26, 2008

SHHHHHHHHHHH-the sound of TV static emulated by a human voice emits from somewhere in the house. Blue light hits the stage as the main character, David, and his girlfriend watch TV. At this point, they never suspect that their relationship would end up in their growing apart, or in this case, shrinking apart.

Dave-the shrunken protagonist of Kill the Ant, a social commentary based on the premise of judgment-awakes one day to find a large hole in his wall and his height decreased by three inches. David soon learns that his best friend and girlfriend have both grown to an enormous proportion. Adding to the confusion, a masked man visits David speaking of rules and codes that David could only imagine hearing in a nightmare. In this mythical world, a person's personality is no longer a private fact that could only be learned through getting to know a person's views and actions.

It is now a physical display of how big or small a person is, because God has re-proportioned all of the humans on earth to be bigger or smaller based on what kind of person they are.

A person who is considered nice, smart and hardworking could turn into a giant, where as a mean spirited, greedy and self-centered person would shrink to the size of an ant.

David has only been reduced three inches however, leaving the audience to wonder why he is neither a giant nor an ant. As the plot continues, a certain arrogance comes over the people who have grown, for the collective conscious has agreed that those who are physically larger are more elite. The characters treated each other differently, like equals, before they were able to physically see who is ostensibly superior. The audience then becomes an unfortunate witness as they see how attitudes and perception change between the cast of characters.

Kill the Ant was written and directed by senior theatre studies major Nick Fenster, and will be performed by the all-inclusive theater troupe, Mercutio.

"[Mercutio is] the only thing on campus where it's all produced in house like that, where everyone comes together and adds what they can to the show, as opposed to a production company," said Fenster.

Mercutio is compiled of its own writers, directors, actors and set designers. The one-act play is a creative and incisive exhibit of personal evalutation in our harsh society. Rather than creating a drama about friends struggling to accept each other, Fenster intertwines a number of elements to enhance the themes of dishonesty, judgement and phoniness.

A unique visual effect is introduced in the play through puppet-like set pieces. In order to depict the giants and shrunken people, Zac Palladino, an actor as well as a set builder for Mercutio, created puppet-like extensions for the actors to use. Palladino has been involved in puppet making since he was a young child living in his hometown of Santa Barbara, California.

The puppet pieces are made from "a lot of cardboard," said Palladino. They are also made from papier-m