Spring play diary '10: Don't be scared of Uni theater!
Published: Wednesday, April 7, 2010 - 9:28am
Six members of the Gargoyle staff — Kahlilah Cooke, Danny Ge, Anna Gooler, Hadley Hauser, Adam Joseph, and Chris Yoder — are involved in this year's spring play, "Wild Oats." This week they'll take us backstage to get a sense of what goes into putting on a school production. Our coverage begins with senior Chris Yoder's thoughts on Uni theater.
A Comedy by James McLure
- Directed by: Barbara Ridenour
- When: 7 p.m. Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Friday & Saturday
- Where: North Attic Playhouse
DURING MY FIVE years at Uni, the school has put on 19 theater productions. As the week comes to a close, the curtains will rise and fall on three nights for show number 20.
The first production I took part in was the one you last had the chance to see: December’s Student Productions. So I’m left with only one question for myself: What was I afraid of before?
Was it some newfound confidence that I only acquired this year, some knowledge that all but seniors lack? Was it the pressure from my friends in theater? Was it failure I was afraid of?
I used to be completely left-brained. In other words, I was about as removed from being a theater type as you could imagine. I could never see myself onstage, performing live, with no time to edit what I was doing. What if I missed my cue? What if I messed up a line? What if people laughed at me? Wait … that’s exactly what I wanted them to do.
Really, theater isn’t all that bad. In fact, that’s an understatement. Uni theater is great. I have no chance of becoming a professional actor, but spending time on stage is an activity in which every Uni student should partake.
It’s all about pushing yourself. Even if you spend your day juggling your TI-84, your iPad, and your DS, you should still give theater a shot. We won’t laugh at you; we’ll laugh at your character. The less funny you think you are, the more funny you probably are onstage. When you’re done, what will you regret more? Your action or your inaction?
My Uni theater career comes to a close just as it is beginning. My first spring play is also my last. As I’ve gotten to know the younger actors, I’ve realized that they aren’t as icky and dumb as I once thought they were. Likewise, underclassmen have no reason to be scared off by us big, bad seniors. Everyone in our cast gets along. There’s no reason to be scared of anyone, as I used to be.
It always works out in the end. I’ve been to many of Uni’s theater productions over the years. Each time, I’ve heard horror stories: “We’re going to have to cancel the show!” … “Nobody knows their lines!” … “Everybody’s doing something wrong!”
Not this year. Our lines, while not perfect, are mostly memorized. Our set, which only needs a little work on scene changes, looks professional. Our costumes, assuming everyone brings in what they need, look fabulous.
If you're an audience member, I can assure you that you’ll be entertained. If you're a cast member, I can assure you that you’ll have an experience unlike any other in your life.
No matter what, don’t be scared to get involved.
Cast & Crew of "Wild Oats"
- Piano Player: Daniel Cheng
- Bartender: Chris Yoder
- Innkeeper's Daughter: Hadley Hauser
- Liberty: Jack Gillette
- Wilson: Aaron Wilson
- Angel Eyes: Ben Zehr
- Colonel Croftus Thunder: Zack Goldberg
- Corporal Crow: Cameron Cornell
- Ephraim Smooth: Andrew LaPointe
- Kate Thunder: Nora Peterson
- Harry Thunder: Ethan Schiller
- Muz: Vivian Robison
- Jack Rover: Will Erickson
- Ike Gammon: Jared Doyle
- Sim Gammon: Danny Ge
- Jane Gammon: Kahlilah Cooke
- Señor Morales: Charlie Newman-Johnson
- Sheriff: Maia Gersten
- Mr. Kleigl: Arch Robison
- Mr. Leko: Evan Ramos
- Amelia Dolores Morales: Anna Gooler
- Marshall: Stirling Hobgood
- Bear: Chris Yoder
- Gamblers, Cowpokes, Dancehall girls, etc.: Mary Campbell, Andrew Ferguson, Izzy Fitzpatrick, Sam LeRoy, Ella Lubienski, Charlotte Popetz, Kate Popetz, Emmanuel Pratt-Clarke, Max Sigalov, Kaila Simpson, Alex Valdez
- Sound effects: Stirling Hobgood, Andrew Ferguson
- Set designer: Margarita Mouschovias
- Stage manager: Tianna Pittenger
- Assistant stage manager: Greta Goldbart
- Assistant director: Stef Senior
- Costume, hair, makeup: Mary Stasheff
- Choreographer: Alicia Engelhardt
- Lights: Adam Joseph
Synopsis of "Wild Oats"
The Playwrights Database includes this description of the play:
Switching the locale of the action from the drawing room of Restoration England to the saloons and prairies of the Old West, and transforming the characters from scheming servants and lustful gentry to music hall girls and stalwart cavalrymen, the playwright holds onto the hilariously convoluted structure which has made the original play a timeless delight. [As Variety] puts it: "Plot elements include standard mistaken identities, long lost son reunited with parents, long estranged parents finding each other, evil landlord foreclosing at the drop of a tumbleweed, an F Troop type of cavalry, an Indian guide who speaks with an Irish brogue, a crusty colonel who's planted progeny all over the Wild West, a hero who stops a speeding train with one hand, a lustful and slithery preacher, a foppish son who's been kicked out of more military schools than he can count, ad histrionicum." And so it goes — resulting happily enough, in a slambang, wildly funny farce which provides both a field day for performers, and an experience of sheer delight for audiences.