The Pardon a post-apocalyptic thrill ride

This weekend the Robert Sinclair Theatre will host the debut of "The Pardon," an exciting new play written by senior Danny Carroll and directed by senior Gavin Price.

With its apocalyptic plot and invigorating cast, "The Pardon" is certain to be a success with Geneseo students and staff.

The play opens in the year 2022 when the president has gone insane. A cacophony of sound is heard in the theatre - a single, resonant, male voice can barely be made out through the distorted mumbles.

As the noise crescendos to an uncomfortable drone, it is accompanied by several stacked televisions with images of a female politician named Judy Welsh, played by senior Norma Butikofer. The pounding noise and fuzzy images are clear indications of how the story will begin and eventually end: in utter chaos.

The main character, Martin Keats, played by senior David French, cuts through the thick madness of the show with his calm and collected personality. While the citizens of America are frenzied and diseased, Keats somehow remains skeptical and immune to the hysteria taking over the world around him.

French's mellow portrayal of Keats is captivating when placed up against the very "cookie-cutter" images some of the other characters embody: the mad scientist and his evil creation, the psycho army general and the honorable president.

Recently pardoned from jail for reasons unknown, Keats returns home only to find his brother Elbert (junior Nick Ponterio) manicly obsessed with a mechanical hand named Magnus (freshman Kim Sturman) and his sister-in-law Gretta (junior Jen Thorpe) patrolling their mildew-glazed house clutching her shotgun.

Ponterio's character personifies the techno-geek while incorporating a sort of pitiful quality that makes him irresistibly endearing. Paired up with Thorpe, whose booming southern-drawl precedes her hilarious entrances, the couple is darkly hilarious and impossible not to love.

Keats, Elbert and Gretta find themselves in a predicament when the president of the United States (senior Dan Lilly) wriggles on his hands and knees into their house, drawing unwanted attention to their humble existence.

The audience cannot help but root for Lilly's character, who radiates nobility during his performance. His genuine quality is sometimes undermined by the many monologues turned "rant" written in the script, but Lilly does not let those hinder his heartfelt performance.

As the play progresses, it entangles more and more characters into the wild whirlwind of political confusion.

Butikofer captures the essence of the just politician trying to maintain normalcy as the administration plummets into pandemonium. Accompanying her as the first lady is Pam (junior Meaghan Elicks) who struggles to understand her husband's frantic state-of-being and to stand up against Gen. Loge (junior Jack Frederick).

Frederick's testosterone-charged character is the epitome of an enraged army general gone off the deep end as he crushes disease-filled test tubes with a hammer and guzzles down straight vodka.

The character-driven production will blow the minds of all who are involved (quite literally, for some characters).

"The Pardon" will run Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. with an 11 p.m. showing on Friday and a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m.