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Addressing society today and its values, Take Charge Theater put on Stopping the Desert, an entertaining show which forces its audience to question its values. Organizers said before the show, that they hoped the audience would be able to understand and related to the show's message of the questionable nature of values because of their economic basis. In almost every scene, there is a relation to money, income, or economics to clarify the message. Additionally, the show is reinforced by a solid script, realistic characters, and creative set. However, the play does not offer a solution to stopping this "desert" -- which is both an emotional one and a moral one, devoid of life. It just describes this cycle of destruction in which the symbolic "soil erodes because the trees die and the trees die because the soil erodes," leaving the audience both frustrated and depressed. Stopping the Desert effectively made its point by stressing black comedy and sarcasm. The quick and clever lines were humorous while the serious undertones were evident. The tightly-knit, seven-member member cast delivered great performances, which can be attributed to their realistic and identifiable characters. Villanova University student Frank Fuselier's performance was very powerful in embodying the message of the show as an "invisible manipulator." The set depicting the sterility of American society also emphasizes the message. Wire fences, trash cans, broken refrigerators, tires, and aluminum cans strewn all over the stage looks like a 1990s garbage dump and represents West Philadelphia. One of the weaker parts of the show was the character "Reed," a corporate giant, played by College sophomore Debra Goodfader. She performed the part admirably, but the character lacked any real depth that could be developed further. Overall, the solid acting combined with believable characters makes the show both entertaining and eye-opening. Stopping the Desert will play tonight and Saturday night at 8 p.m. in the Harold Prince Theatre of the Annenberg Center. Tickets are available on Locust Walk and at the Annenberg Center Box Office for $4.

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