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Soccer readies for postseason

(10/20/15 8:04pm)

With a 2-0 record last weekend, the Rice University soccer team positioned themselves for another late-season run towards the Conference USA championship. The Owls competed in two more games this weekend and came away with one win and one tie, stretching their unbeaten streak to four matches. On Friday night, Rice defeated the University of Alabama, Birmingham by a score of 2-0. The team followed this performance up with a Sunday matchup against Middle Tennessee State University that ended in a 0-0 double overtime tie. The Owls have accumulated 16 points so far in conference and are currently in second place in C-USA with a 9-5-2 (5-2-1) record. Rice matched up against a UAB team that had just two wins on the season as of Friday night. The Owls scored in the 26th minute when sophomore midfielder Samantha Chaiken elevated to head a corner kick into the back of the net.The second Owls goal came just six minutes later from senior forward Holly Hargreaves. The Owls had opportunities to tack on more goals as the game went on hitting the crossbar on multiple occasions but settled for the 2-0 victory over the Blazers. On Sunday afternoon, the Owls hosted the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders. In the second half, Rice owned possession time and outshot their opposition 13-2. Despite leading the shot margin 26-13, the match ended in a scoreless draw rewarding each team with one point. All four defenders for Rice along with junior goalkeeper Zoe Pochobradsky played 110 minutes in route to recording their third shutout in the last four games. Head Coach Nicky Adams said she was disappointed the Owls could not connect on offensive opportunities.“Overall, I thought we battled extremely hard … [I’m] just disappointed that one of the 26 opportunities that we had did not go in but you have to give so much credit to their goalkeeper,” Adams said. “13 saves on the day is huge and she had some legit saves so a lot of credit goes to that kid between the pipes.”Adams reiterated the importance of finishing opportunities. She said the team has great potential when they can put everything together, including the goals. “It’s great to see the defense hold up [and the] shots on goal but at the end of the day you need every unit together and finishing to get some W’s,” Adams said. “We’re brilliant out there when everybody is on the same page, but we have to do it a little more consistently.” Sophomore forward Nia Stallings said she is excited to now face the University of North Texas, currently ranked first in C-USA with a 6-0-1 Conference record. “They are always a tough opponent and they come out really hard and physical but we’ll be ready for that and give it right back to them,” Stallings said. “The plan is to go over there and come out with the win.”The highly anticipated matchup dates back to last season when the two teams played each other on two separate occasions, each in dramatic fashion. On Oct. 12, 2014, Rice and North Texas fought to a 1-1 double overtime draw at Holloway Field. The two squads then faced each other once more in the championship game of the Conference USA tournament where Rice defeated North Texas by a 2-0 final and secured an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Rice will take the field against North Texas on Sunday at 7 p.m.

Rice looks to improving experiential learning with QEP

(10/20/15 7:53pm)

Rice University has identified experiential learning as the focus of its next Quality Enhancement Plan, according to QEP Planning Committee co-chair Robert Stein. Rice’s reaccreditation process occurs every 10 years and requires a five-year plan to improve all students’ academic experience. The previous QEP centered on civic engagement and resulted in the creation of the Center for Civic Engagement in 2006, which has since become the Center for Civic Leadership.Stein said a committee formed in the spring of last year developed two proposals; one centered on oral and visual communication and the other on experiential learning. President David Leebron chose to pursue experiential learning. Stein said while direct implementation of the program has not been determined, the goal is to give students real-world experience.“Students [should] have an authentic experience,” Stein said. “It could be from involvement in the community, part of a laboratory study, part of a scholarly project, [or] through an internship.” According to Stein, the QEP additionally aims to improve the pedagogy of the faculty.“Every four years they zero your group, you go from 18 to 21 [years old] and I just keep getting older,” Stein said. “It is hard for a faculty member like me to retool. I have probably retooled four or five times over the course of my career.”Brown College senior Amritha Kanakamedala was the undergraduate representative on the QEP Planning Committee. She said more than 85 responses were gathered from the Rice community online in March 2015. “We set up a blog page where students, alumni, faculty and staff could propose [and vote on] ideas,” Kanakamedala said.Stein said students must be involved with the implementation of the QEP and development of curriculum.“There is a need for the students to express a preference for that type of educational experience,” Stein said. “Students tend not to see themselves as customers but rather [as] receivers of education in a passive way, and this is only going to work if the students have input in the process.”Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson said the results of the QEP could be larger than initially anticipated.“[The Center for Civic Leadership] was not envisioned in 2006,” Hutchinson said. “As opposed to this plugging into the current curriculum, it’s possible [this QEP] could be the foundation for a very different curriculum.”The Faculty Senate will present a plan to President Leebron in November with the aim of full implementation by the 2016-17 academic year. 

Baseball announces 2016 schedule

(10/07/15 3:42am)

Seeking their 21st consecutive conference championship, the Rice University baseball team has begun their fall training and have announced their season schedule. According to the Owls’ newly released 2016 schedule, they will open their season with a home game against the University of Arizona on Feb. 16. That will be the first of 54 regular season games, 31 of which will be at Reckling Park. Rice will begin its slate of Conference USA games on March 18 in San Antonio against the University of Texas, San Antonio. They will then play a three-game series against conference foes Old Dominion University, Middle Tennessee State University, the University of Alabama, Birmingham, Western Kentucky University, the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. The Owls will face off against defending Conference USA champion Florida International University May 6-8 in Miami before playing Florida Atlantic University, which ranked No. 24 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll at the end of last season. Rice will finish conference play with a three-game series against Louisiana Tech University May 19-21.According to senior pitcher Blake Fox, the Owls cannot overlook their conference schedule despite the limited number of nationally ranked teams.“You’ve got to give credit to our conference,” Fox said. “We definitely have some teams that are tough opponents and we’ve seen that in the past.”Strong opponents will come from both inside and outside Conference USA. The Owls will take on seven different teams that ranked in the top 25 of the USA Today Coaches’ Poll at the end of the 2015 season. The first of those games will come on Feb. 23 against Dallas Baptist University, which finished the 2015 season ranked No. 17 in the country and qualified for the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in the past five years. Then, beginning on Feb. 26, the Owls will take part in the Minute Maid Classic held at Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros. During this event, they will play three opponents that were ranked last season: the University of Arkansas, Texas Christian University and University of Louisiana, Lafayette.Senior infielder Grayson Lewis said many of the players are especially excited to play Louisiana-Lafayette because the Ragin’ Cajuns eliminated the Owls from the NCAA tournament regionals last season. “We definitely owe Louisiana-Lafayette a little something after regionals,” Lewis said. Rice will begin its annual series against the University of Houston with a game at Cougar Field on March 22. The Owls will play Houston two more times, on May 10 and 17. The Cougars ranked No. 23 in the coaches’ poll at the end of the 2015 season with a record of 43-20, but the Owls eliminated them from the NCAA tournament with a 3-2 win in 20 innings. Houston, however, won last season’s regular season series over Rice two games to one. According to Fox, the games against Houston will be some of the most fun for him as a player. “Just because of the way the [Houston] games went last year, I’m definitely looking forward to those games,” Fox said. “I’d say those games are the ones I’m looking forward to most.”Rice will finish its slate of games against last year’s top 25 with matchups against Texas A&M University on April 5 and conference foe FAU in mid-May. Other non-conference opponents include Texas State University, Sam Houston State University, the University of Central Florida, Lamar University and East Carolina University. While the schedule is long and full of highly ranked opponents, the players feel optimistic. When asked about his hopes for the season, senior infielder Connor Teykl said only two words. “Obviously, Omaha,” Teykl said, referencing the city that hosts the College World Series. The Owls will hope to make a trip to the College World Series for the first time since 2008. While the regular season does not start until February, Rice’s journey to Omaha has already begun. The Owls will play an exhibition game against Lamar, one of their 2016 opponents, on Saturday, Oct. 17 at Reckling Park.

Football suffers loss to Western Kentucky

(10/07/15 3:41am)

 Playing at home for the first time in a month, the Rice University football team was defeated by sixth-year senior quarterback Brandon Doughty and Western Kentucky University, snapping a five-game home winning streak and dropping the Owls to 2-3 (1-1) on the season in a 49-10 loss.The Hilltoppers got the ball to open the game and the Owls’ defense promptly forced a three-and-out, after which Rice would march down the field and strike first with a field goal. The lead, however, was short-lived. Western Kentucky would go on to score four touchdowns on its next five possessions, while the Owls’ next five drives yielded two punts, two lost fumbles and an interception. A game with a promising beginning quickly turned awry for the home team. By the time redshirt senior quarterback Driphus Jackson was benched in the second quarter in favor of junior backup Tyler Stehling, the team trailed 28-3 and would do little the rest of the game to decrease the deficit.In the first-ever meeting between the Conference USA schools, Rice was outgained in total yardage, possessed the ball four minutes fewer than the Hilltoppers, and gained nine fewer first downs than their opponent. While the Owls were unable to force a turnover, they committed five of their own, off of which Western Kentucky scored 21 points. The Rice defense faced an NFL-caliber quarterback for the second straight week, and proved not to be up to the task again. Doughty threw for 409 yards and four touchdowns in a typically strong performance.Head Coach David Bailiff, who expressed concern following last week’s 70-17 loss to Baylor University about putting the big loss behind his team, said his team was not ready to play the Hilltoppers, and took the blame for it.“We didn’t play very [well] today, and that’s on me,” Bailiff said. “I didn’t have those guys ready to go. It’s my job to make sure the offense is ready, the defense is ready, and the special teams is ready.”According to Bailiff, the Owls’ turnovers and poor tackling on defense exemplified unusually poor play, and that the team would need to return to form soon.“We have more turnovers already this year than all of last season,” Bailiff said. “We’ve got to stop that. We have to tackle defensively. We’ve had more missed tackles in the last two games than in the first three. The formula for success has always been take care of the football, get points at the end of drives offensively — we’re not doing that. You just can’t win football games this way.”In years past, the Owls have gained a reputation as a disciplined team that does not commit many penalties. Bailiff said this year’s team has not been playing like it has in recent years.“We had eight penalties, and that’s not who we are,” Bailiff said. “We’ve been one of the least penalized teams in Conference USA since I’ve been here. Some of them were late. We need to work on those. It’s not who we are, and it’s not how we’re going to do this.”According to Bailiff, spectators should not to read too much into his decision to bench Jackson after the quarterback turned the ball over on consecutive drives in the second quarter.“I was just trying to stimulate the offense,” Bailiff said. “Driphus [Jackson] is our starter. He’ll be right back here as our starting quarterback. [Benching Jackson] was just to rally the troops and throw the ball down the field.”Rice will next face Florida Atlantic University, who are 1-3 overall, but 1-0 in Conference USA play. The two teams last faced off in 2013, when Rice was able to pull out an 18-14 home victory. While FAU redshirt senior quarterback Jaquez Johnson sustained an injury in the team’s second game of the season, FAU boasts a pair of running backs in sophomore Greg Howell and junior Jay Warren that average above five yards per carry. Following the loss to Western Kentucky, Bailiff said the team needs to turn the page and focus on winning out the remainder of the schedule.“We have to get better,” Bailiff said. “We have great seniors in here and we have some great leaders on this team. We’re not going to let it go the wrong way; it’s not going to happen. There’s nobody left on our schedule that we can’t beat. We’re going to expect winning, and it’s what’s going to get done.”The Owls will look to halt their two-game losing streak in a road matchup against FAU at 1:30 p.m. in Boca Raton, Florida.

STRIVE coalition to spearhead sexual violence prevention efforts

(10/06/15 9:35pm)

In response to the need for a strong sexual violence prevention program, the Wellbeing Office recruited students to create the STRIVE Coalition: Students Transforming Rice Into a Violence-Free Environment in spring 2015. The group seeks to promote healthy relationships and connect students with resources on campus and is hoping to enact change following the release of results of the Survey on Unwanted Sexual Experiences.

Soccer splits weekend matches at home

(10/06/15 7:16pm)

The Rice University soccer team played two consecutive matches at home for the first time since Sept. 6. The Owls either tied or broke a school record in each game resulting in an exciting weekend of games. On Friday night’s 4-2 victory over Florida International University, senior forward Lauren Hughes registered three assists, tying a school record. In Sunday’s matchup against Florida Atlantic University, Rice was trailing 2-1 leading up to the final moments of the match. In a frenzied finish, Rice tied the game at the 89:58 mark of the match, just two seconds from the final whistle for what became the latest goal in Rice history. However, Rice eventually lost in double overtime 3-2. The Owls are currently 6-5-1 (2-2 in C-USA) on the season. At the 1:21 mark of the first half, Hughes drove in a ball to sophomore Nia Stallings who secured a touch and put it past the keeper into the back of the net to open up the scoring. After FIU tied the match up in the 19th minute of play, the Owls quickly responded with a goal in the 21st minute. Junior transfer midfielder Madeleine Lundberg fired in a shot from just inside the 18-yard box to reclaim the lead for Rice. Following halftime, Rice scored again to make it 3-1 on Hughes’s third consecutive assist. The scoring for the afternoon was complete in the 58th minute when Hughes scored a goal of her own to give her six on the season to put the game away for Rice. The four goals scored were not only by four different players but were more goals than Rice had scored in their previous four road games combined. The Owls held on for a 4-2 final. The Sunday matchup featured a battle of the two Owls squads in Conference USA. Rice delivered the first blow in the 30th minute of the match. Freshman forward Marissa Topolski navigated her way around a defender on the outside of the box and fired in a low cross to senior midfielder Danielle Spriggs who had the easy tap-in right in front of goal for her second goal on the weekend. FAU then responded by scoring two goals in the 34th and 39th minute of the match to take a 2-1 lead into halftime. Rice played the entire second half looking for the equalizing goal and outshot FAU 14-5 but continued to come up empty. As the stadium announcer counted down from 10 seconds to the final buzzer, Rice was busy trying to redirect a bouncing ball into the net. After multiple deflections from players on both teams and a shot by Hughes, senior defender Jasmine Isokpunwu fired it home with two seconds remaining in the game to stun FAU. In the 99th minute of the match, Rice looked like they had the game-winning goal on a put-back shot by Hughes, but an offside call negated the goal and sent the game into a second overtime where FAU would score and hand Rice the 3-2 loss.Head Coach Nicky Adams said she credits the execution of the game plan and the play of her forwards up top to the victory on Friday night. “I thought we had a great game plan going into it,” Adams said. “Lauren [Hughes], Nia [Stallings] and [senior forward Holly Hargreaves] up top were amazing for us. [Hughes] with three assists just shows what a dynamic player she is where she can score goals and can also put people in front of goals.”Adams said the last-second goal represents the essence of her team. “We outshot them 14-5 [in the second half] which is really tremendous,” Adams said. “We knew a goal was going to come but it was just a matter of time. It just shows the character of those girls … how amazing they are and their commitment to this team and to the game itself.” Lundberg, a transfer from the Air Force Academy, said all the goals scored originate from team effort. “For me, it’s all a clean state [being at Rice],” Lundberg said. “I’m out there with my teammates and we’re working together so well to the point it shows in our scoring. The goals were 100 percent team effort which is the way it should be.” Spriggs, a team captain for the 2015 season, has started in 45 of the last 47 games for the Owls. She said the perseverance shown by her team to fight down to the final second in Sunday’s match will benefit the team as they look ahead to two road games this upcoming week. “I think our resilience showed that our team is a team that’s not going to shy away when down a goal or when things get tough,” Spriggs said. “That’s something that is going to help us as we move forward in the season.” The Owls will head back on the road for the next two games to face Old Dominion University and the University of North Carolina, Charlotte in more C-USA competition. On Friday night, Rice will face an ODU team coming off a weekend of two rain-suspended matches. Rice will then face Charlotte, who were on the losing end of back-to-back 1-0 games this weekend. 

Rice Gallery debuts new exhibit

(09/30/15 5:18am)

A six-foot cube hangs from the ceiling in the center of the gallery, with a single light bulb suspended in the middle of the box. Together, they manage to fill the entire space, from ceiling to floor, with patterned shadows that are composed of lines and geometric shapes. The details of the cube are defined and delicate, but they become distorted as they fill the rest of the room; the patterns are stretched and expanded on the walls. It is impossible to step into the gallery without becoming yet another piece of the art: The light and shadow from the center of the room are cast onto the viewer’s body, while the viewer’s shadow is thrown to the floor and the wall behind them.

Fantastic Wines and Where to Find Them

(04/08/15 5:13am)

Tired of beer? Freaked out by Franzia? According to a class-action lawsuit filed last Thursday, student favorites Franzia and Charles Shaw may have up to five times the amount of arsenic the EPA allows in drinking water. So given the alternatives, now seems like a better time than ever to highlight some of top low-cost bottles available at the local Spec’s, HEB and even Target.

Album Review: Rice Alum's "Mixmaster"

(03/25/15 5:30am)

Anthony Kellems likens his debut rap album, Mixmaster, to a basketball game: It starts with a pregame forecast in which announcers discuss the forthcoming album’s potential. The record is then split into two distinct sides representing halves of a basketball game, separated by a heavy metal guitar solo “halftime show”- and the back-and-forth, slow- and fast-paced tempo changes in Kellems’ verses evoke the ebb and flow of the game. Don’t be fooled, though – this is no tight concept album, a la Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d. city. Instead, it is a loosely connected series of upstart and rambunctious rap tracks that solidify the Rice alumnus (Hanszen ’05, M.A. ’07, Ph.D. ’10) as one of the genre’s foremost Christian rappers. However, while God is consistently present on the record, it is done in a way that asks more questions than provides answers.

Khun Kay offers affordable vegetarian-friendly fare

(03/25/15 5:20am)

Supartra Yooto and Kay Soodjai have experience when it comes to serving Asian food in the Houston area. The Thai sisters-in-law opened their first restaurant, a popular Chinese spot called the Golden Room, on Montrose in 1982. When it came time to renovate in 2008, they simply tore it down and returned to their roots with the “fast casual” Thai restaurant Khun Kay. The website claims the restaurant offers “most of the Golden Room’s menu with the same superb quality, but with reduced prices.” With pad thai as cheap as $7 a plate and a plate of excellent curry for only $8, reduced prices are certainly a plus. But beyond the low prices, Khun Kay’s extensive vegetarian menu and rotating list of specialties set it far above other counter-service Asian eateries. 

Collina's fails to deliver high-quality Italian cuisine

(03/18/15 5:25am)

Nestled in a strip mall on Richmond Avenue, Collina’s Italian Cafe looks as inviting as any Italian restaurant. Families and couples chatter over bottles of wine, cooks stir enormous pots of pasta and waiters bustle between the indoor seating and the tables outside on the patio. The affable service, homey red-checkered tablecloths and BYOB policy all add to Collina’s laid-back, neighborhood-Italian-joint atmosphere. It would be all too perfect if Collina’s cooks turned out food that matched their idyllic atmosphere. Unfortunately, Collina’s pastas are far from the heavenly spaghettis and linguinis of superior trattorias; the rustic chicken dishes miss out on the buttery charm that pervades quality Italian cooking. Even the pizzas, the centerpiece of Collina’s menu, seem bland in comparison to the bold and fresh flavors other pizzerias draw from their pies.

Dak and Bop offers inconsistent quality

(03/11/15 5:05am)

Since opening last November, the Third Ward’s Dak and Bop has been a hard restaurant to figure out. It specializes in Korean fried chicken, but also serves mac and cheese, tortilla soup and parmesan fries with truffle oil. Their decor is purposefully casual and straightforward, but the menu is tinged with tapas and small “fusion plates” that suggest more upscale aspirations. Overall, Dak and Bop comes off as a mashup of Houston’s popular gastro-pubs like BRC and Revelry on Richmond and the Korean fried chicken chains that have been opening across the southwest.The quality of the food at Dak and Bop is uneven, but at its best it is unparalleled. The chicken wings and drumsticks exemplify all the benefits of the Korean frying method: The meat is warm and succulent and the outer shell of skin is light, crispy and, depending on the sauce, even chewy. The boneless tenders are easier to eat, but without skin they don’t benefit from the Korean frying method like the drumsticks and wings do. All of the chicken is prepared with a hot-and-spicy sauce, soy garlic sauce, a mix of the two or neither. The soy garlic sauce lends a nice tang and saltiness to the chicken, but beyond that, is fairly unremarkable. The hot-and-spicy sauce uses a blend of Asian chili peppers and vinegar to create an authentic Korean seasoning. Its herbal heat could be an interesting alternative to the usual tabasco-driven hot sauces, but the sauce’s overwhelming spice can make even a small plate of wings hard to finish. Dak and Bop’s appetizers are similarly inconsistent. The chicken baos are tasty, but at $9 for a plate of three, they’re no better than the cheaper versions made at any dim sum restaurant. The Asian citrus slaw is dry and the cold corn salad bland, although they are good for putting out the spicy wing’s brutal heat. Perhaps because of the kitchen’s expertise with a deep fryer, the fries are by far the best item on the appetizer menu. The fries are tossed with parmesan, truffle oil or both, and served with spicy mayo. In fact, the biggest downside of Dak and Bop is its pricing. Inconsistencies in the food aside, $14 for an eight-piece chicken combo and $7 for plain fries or corn on the cob is simply too much for a fried chicken joint to charge, even if the chicken itself is exceptional. Aggravating the problem, condiments like ranch and blue cheese dressing that are nearly always complimentary cost an extra dollar for a small two-ounce portion. Altogether, customers can expect to spend well over $20 on food alone. In all, Dak and Bop offers both delicious and disappointing plates. The prices might be high, but for those who have never tried its specialty dish, the trip may be worth it for the chicken, if nothing else.

Play Review: McMurtry's The Pillowman

(02/18/15 4:20am)

If you enter the McMurtry College commons this weekend, beware. You are entering a world of murdered children, torture and deceit. You are entering a totalitarian police state. You are entering The Pillowman.Of all the plays shown at Rice University in recent memory, few have been as haunting, terrifying or cleverly executed as McMurtry College Theater’s most recent endeavor, The Pillowman, written by Irish playwright Martin McDonagh and directed by McMurtry College senior Grant Raun.Pillowman begins with the interrogation of an author named Katurian (McMurtry College freshman Lenna Mendoza), whose short stories all too often feature the grotesque murders of children. She is brought in for questioning by an unrelenting duo of bad cop-bad cop detectives, Tupolski (Wiess College junior Sean Doyle) and Ariel (Baker College senior Alyssa Dugar), about the recent murders and disappearances of three children who have been killed in the same fashion as prescribed by the unpublished stories.As the play progresses, the audience learns the Pillowman is a difficult play to act, with characters that range from abusive alcoholics to murderers to the psychologically insane, and with lines that beg for an Irish delivery. This is no problem for this production’s cast, however, which mobilizes — for the most part — its immense talent to overcome any obstacles.Doyle and Dugar are captivating as a fierce and violent detective pair. Dugar’s performance as a crazed and torture-happy, yet vulnerable and insecure cop keeps the audience on edge and fearful of her next outburst. Doyle, although sometimes hard to understand, counterparts as a flippant and psychopathic partner who chills to the bone. Together, the talented duo moves the play forward in a terrifying and fast-paced tension. Though the talent in this well-cast play is truly robust, the best performance comes from Smith as Michal, Katurian’s mentally disabled sister. Smith oscillates between expressing the cruelty of the devil and the innocence of a puppy with complete mastery, leaving the audience unsure whether to fear or pity her. A good script, combined with Smith’s superb acting, brings out the dark humor of the play in a way that challenges traditional morality.The weakest performance of the lot — though it would not seem so weak if it was not paired with such gargantuan talent — comes from Mendoza in the lead role of Katurian. Though strong and unflinching in the play’s most emotionally potent moments, Mendoza falls flat when telling Katurian’s stories or reciting one of the many lengthy monologues assigned to her character. She is best when paired with other strong cast roles and tense situations, which, fortunately for the audience, occurs often.Jones College senior Sarah Normoyle and McMurtry College graduate Daniel Burns, the mother and father, and McMurtry College freshman Jasmine Lin, who plays Little Jesus Girl, have minimal parts but execute them perfectly.Acting aside, what truly makes this version of The Pillowman stand out are the clever design tactics used to enhance the fear-inducing aspects of the play — a tribute to Raun’s talent as director. The set design is imaginative and perfectly suits the play’s needs; it is set in the round, with audiences surrounding the stage at all sides. As a result, the audience both represents the ever-present watch of a totalitarian police state and bears witness to the characters’ most intimate moments and, sometimes, their minds. Multiple exits and entrances to the stage allow characters to pop up seemingly out of nowhere for shock value. Meanwhile, direct and simple lighting and minimal props (by Lovett College freshman Ronnie McLaren and McMurtry College freshman Madison Blattel, respectively) further focus the play.The two most ingenious moves were the use of sound (McMurtry College senior Sean Harger and freshman Rohit Kavukuntla) and costume (Normoyle) to enhance character. Chillingly suspenseful surround-sound music aids scene changes and moves long monologues forward, while prerecorded chanting voices are used to convey the scariest instances of dialogue. The costumes are simple but powerful, using symbolic colors and aptly predictable uniforms to improve but not distract from the audience’s perception of character. Cleverly, black nylon is used both as costume and prop to depict death and darkness.The Pillowman may not be a play for the lighthearted, but it is a play for the artistically minded and is well worth a watch. This production has truly brought at all the stops to make it what it is, and it does notdisappoint.