An Experiment In Surrealism: Gold Masque’s bobrauschenbergamerica

Rebecca LeMoult

In November, Gold Masque put on their production of the play bobrauschenbergamerica, perhaps the strangest play to ever grace the Ramapo Auditorium. Interestingly, the show was not what had been originally planned. Initially, the play was going to be Tennessee Williams’ classic, the far more conventional The Glass Menagerie. Due to multiple factors, that play fell through, and plans quickly changed to bobrauschenbergamerica, a play which exists in the public domain, meaning that the production company did not have to go through the arduous process of gaining the rights to the show. 


bobrauschenbergamerica is certainly unconventional. As freshman cast member Julia Drob put it: “My initial reaction to the play was ‘huh?’ It was honestly the strangest thing I had ever read.” Based loosely on the works of graphic artist Bob Rauschenberg, the play follows no single plot: the show zips and zaps its way through the lives of multiple characters. The cast includes a trucker and his girlfriend; a gay couple looking to start a chicken farming business; three people caught up in a complicated love triangle; and Rauschenberg’s mother herself, reflecting on her son’s childhood. However, the plot thickens even from there. The show also features several random scenes with seemingly no context or importance to the plot. A homicidal pizza boy, bad chicken jokes, a monologue about the art of theatre, a line dance, and more all show up at various points. 


Per usual, the show was performed three times in front of an audience; Thursday November 11th, Friday November 12th, and Saturday November 13th. Unfortunately, the dates fell during Quarterly Week at Ramapo, and therefore many students were unable to attend Thursday and Friday night. Even so, both shows went well, with both staff and students in attendance. Dr. Kanefke, who was in attendance for all three shows, said that “I truly enjoyed the individual performances of the actors and how they evolved from night to night.” Saturday night saw a larger crowd.


While we may not have always understood exactly what was going on, doing the play was an amazing experience, and the entire cast had so much fun. Luckily, for those who didn’t get to participate this time around, there’s another opportunity.  In the spring of this year, Gold Masque will be putting on a production of the 1971 musical Godspell. So, if you’re interested in singing, acting, set design, lighting, or you just like theatre, head down to the auditorium and get involved!