Spring play diary '10: Not bad, just different!
Published: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 - 8:09pm
Six members of the Gargoyle staff — Kahlilah Cooke, Danny Ge, Anna Gooler, Hadley Hauser, Adam Joseph, and Chris Yoder — were involved in this year's wildly successful spring play, "Wild Oats," which was performed last week in the North Attic. Our first-person coverage of the production continues with Anna's reflections on her four-year involvement in Uni theater.
A Comedy by James McLure
- Directed by: Barbara Ridenour
- When it was: April 7, 8, 9
- Where it was: North Attic
IT'S NOT THAT Uni has a bad theater program. It's just a little … I don't know, lacking in materials?
Our "stage" is really just the floor of the North Attic, and our "dressing rooms" are two concrete-floored closets, one containing clothes, shoes, and props, and the other containing tools, paint, and brooms.
Our set is made of wooden flats, and there's not even enough room for every audience member to have a chair.
However, looking back on my four-year career in Uni theater leaves me with great pride in the abilities of Uni students to put together fantastic shows.
Students at other schools might help paint the set or mend costumes, but I doubt that they have to do everything. At Uni, we have students who help design the set, paint it, mend costumes, do hair and makeup, and act in the plays.
My point is not to complain or make you say, "Poor Uni theater — they have nothing!" Rather, I'd like to express my appreciation for the challenge that comes with putting on a production at Uni High.
The biggest challenge is the lack of space. We have to design a set that takes up as little space as possible because there's barely any room backstage to store pieces while they aren't in use.
We can't advertise our shows to the public because we don't have enough room to seat people outside of the Uni community. This is particularly frustrating because we don't get much exposure, so other students around Champaign-Urbana might not even know about us.
Even makeup is more difficult on the Uni stage, because the actors are so close to the audience. We can't use stage makeup, but under the bright lights, we have to use something to define our features. We tend to just use regular drugstore makeup — liquid foundation, eyeliner, mascara, blush — all on a cluttered makeup cart.
So, yes, Uni is lacking in proper theater-related materials. But I think I speak for anyone who has been involved with Uni theater when I say that we are proud of how much we can accomplish with so little. I'll miss you, Uni theater, even with all your oddities.
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.