Drake University Theatre’s upcoming repertory showcase features two shows that vary greatly in both style and message.
The showcase begins Thursday, Feb. 21, and runs through Sunday, Feb. 24, in the William S.E. Coleman Studio Theatre in the Harmon Fine Arts Center, 2505 Carpenter Ave, with shows playing on alternating days.
This Is Our Youth is playing on Thursday, Feb. 21, and Saturday, Feb. 23, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 24, at 2 p.m.
Time Stands Still is playing on Friday, Feb. 22, and Sunday, Feb. 24, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 23, at 2 p.m.
Admission is $9 for adults, $7 for senior citizens, and $4 for those with a Drake ID. Tickets are available at the Fine Arts Box Office or online. For more information, visit drake.edu/fineartsboxoffice or call 515-271-3841.
This Is Our Youth by Kenneth Lonergan is directed by senior BFA directing major, Emily Brown. Last year, Brown directed 4:48 Psychosis which was a part of the Student Theatre Production Showcase.
This Is Our Youth is a bittersweet portrait of youth poised on the cusp of the scary, disillusioning path to adulthood. In Reagan Era New York City, three privileged Upper West Side kids – the swaggering, drug-dealing Dennis; his dispirited, free-thinking best friend and whipping boy, Warren; and confused, self-conscious fashion student Jessica – hang out, scheme for cash, challenge each other and make tentative steps toward authentic, vulnerable connection, all in a period of less than twenty-four hours in Dennis’ apartment.
Brown has wanted to direct this show since she first arrived at Drake and is excited for the audience to get to experience the unique feel of this production.
“It’s really funny but not in the chipper comedy way,” Brown said. “It’s funny because its dark and relatable. The characters aren’t typically likeable but your feelings for them evolve throughout the show”.
Jack Griffin is a sophomore BFA musical theatre major who plays the role of Dennis. He has enjoyed getting to dive into his character so that his portrayal of it can be believable to the audience.
“She [Brown] encourages us to do a lot of research on our characters and the time period,” Griffin said. “We had to think about our characters critically. We even made a Myspace page for our characters”.
The second show in the showcase is Time Stands Still by Donald Margulies and is directed by senior BFA directing major Kalle Sorbo. Last year, Sorbo directed The American Family which was also a part of the Student Theatre Production Showcase.
Time Stands Still is set in Brooklyn and revolves around Sarah, a photo journalist who has returned from covering the Iraq War after being injured by a roadside bomb, and her reporter boyfriend James who is swamped by guilt after leaving Sarah alone in Iraq. They receive a visit from their friend Richard, a photo editor, who introduces them to his new girlfriend Mandy, who is much younger than he. The play focuses on their relationships and Sarah and James’ prospects at a more conventional life.
According to sophomore BFA musical theatre major Natalie Payne, who plays Sarah in the show, the rehearsals have been fun and supportive due to the cast and crew involved.
“I just love everyone involved: the stage managers, the cast, our director. We all just share laughs and we get the work done,” Payne said. “We do our character work which is already fun and we can just enjoy each other and not take ourselves too seriously. I think this teamwork will make for a great final product”.
Sophomore BFA musical theatre major Brandon Shreve plays James in the show.
“A big theme that we talked about as a cast is looking at the world through an American lens. That’s a major theme of the play,” Shreve said. “Basically, as a country, we have to kind of come to terms with what’s going on with our everyday lives while horrible things are happening on the other side of the world.”