By Carmen Richter
When I walked into the Auditorium on the opening night of Hot*l Baltimore, the first word that came to mind was detail.
Before the show started, I took in the dynamics of the set, from the huge working clock telling the audience the time in the show to the “marble” stairs to the caution tape across one of the doors. Music from the ’60s and ’70s was playing to complete the nostalgic effect.
Finally, the lights were dimmed, and then blacked out, and the show began. As each character was introduced, from the main characters all the way down to the pizza delivery boy, who had less than five lines, the quality of the acting and the commitment to this production was evident.
I sat there watching college students give very believable performances of people in their 60s and 70s. The acting was stellar. Had I not known that this was a college production, I would have thought the people playing these roles were much older.
The actors told the story of a hotel that used to be one of the finest in Baltimore, but is now a run-down boarding house. The residents have been given one month to pack up and leave, as the hotel is going to be torn down.
Each of the residents is dealing with this news in different ways. Some are in a state of denial, some trying to figure out what to do with their lives, and some making plans to move on. In the midst of this, there is a young man looking for his grandfather, who lived at the hotel a year and a half before, and the mother of a young man who has just been evicted begging the manager to give her son a second chance. Emotions are raging and confusion is in the air as the residents and relatives try to pick up the pieces of their lives.
The part of Hot*l Baltimore that resonated with me the most, however, was not the set design or the acting or even the story. It was the message that I took away after seeing the play: nothing in this life is certain, and we can never take our circumstances for granted, for they can change in the blink of an eye.
The final performances of Hot*l Baltimore are this weekend, Oct. 26-28 at 7:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Oct. 29. The ticket price is $6 for students and $8 general admission.
Editor’s note: The play deals with adult themes and will contain some adult language.