StudProd '10 preview: Nothing much ado about the last wishes of a Russian existentialist
Published: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 - 9:28pm
Performances: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, and Saturday, Dec. 4
Location: North Attic Playhouse
Tickets: $4 for students, seniors, faculty; $5 for everyone else
Directors and Plays: Katy Metcalf, "The Secret Existentialists"; Maia Gersten, "Last Wishes"; Charlie Newman-Johnson, "To Russia, With Love"; Ben Zehr and Buck Walsh, "Nothing Much Ado"
A scene from "The One About Mail" in last year's StudProd. Directors Katy Metcalf and Charlie Newman-Johnson are back again with two new plays for this year's show. Photo by Gargoyle staff (click to enlarge)
DECEMBER MEANS MANY things- snow, holidays, winter break, you know the drill. However, this year December also brings with it some hipsters, sneaky traps, and a few Russian spies.
Yes, it's time again for StudProd.
Uni's annual production of student-directed plays takes place this Friday night at 7:30 in the North Attic Playhouse and again on Saturday at the same time. Tickets are $4 for students, seniors, and faculty, and $5 for everyone else.
This year, StudProd features four plays: "The Secret Existentialists" by senior Katy Metcalf, "To Russia, With Love" by senior Charlie Newman-Johnson, "Last Wishes" by junior Maia Gersten, and "Nothing Much Ado" by seniors Ben Zehr and Buck Walsh.
The plays vary greatly in content, but all display the same creativity and quirk that has become so characteristic of StudProd. Sophomore Jack Gilette recalls a particularly amusing experience acting in "The Secret Existentialists".
"I play a hipster, so I need to wear skinny jeans, but I don't have skinny jeans," he begins. "So, what happened was Katy [Metcalf] lent me hers, and girls' skinny jeans are of very different proportions than guys' jeans... It's a little unfortunate."
Metcalf was also one of the directors for last year's show, collaborating with Newman-Johnson to bring "The One About Mail" to the stage. She notes several unique aspects of this year's production compared to previous ones.
"This is the first year in my memory that we've featured a non-comedy [Gersten's "Last Wishes"]," she says. "Also, we have a live band and that has never happened before!"
The band will perform during the introduction to the show, as well as in between plays. Gilette, who also participated in last year's StudProd, is part of the band and acts in both "The Secret Existentialists" and "Last Wishes". He, along with the rest of the cast and crew, feels the crunch of having only one month to rehearse.
"Personally, I've been a little less prepared for my plays than I was last year," he admits. "But, that's because I was double-cast."
Besides having such a short time to practice, the actors and directors have also had to face the added obstacle of often not having everyone present at once.
"We've had a lot of absences and sickness, so some directors haven't even seen their full cast yet," explains Metcalf. "Things have been a little bit strained, but it's going to get there, [...] not tonight, and maybe not tomorrow night, but by Friday night for sure."
For now, the cast and crew are still absorbed in a very busy tech week. While it will all pay off this weekend, the workload and lack of sleep is quite a bit to handle and an exhausted Newman-Johnson has some trouble coherently summing up his journey with this year's StudProd.
"We started out about four weeks ago with a bunch of raw plays eggs, two of which we put in the incubator, and the other two we put in the frying pan," he begins, but Gilette soon jumps in to help and puts it more clearly.
"These scripts were four raw eggs," he explains, "that we have now turned into play omelets."
STUDPROD 2010: AN OVERVIEW OF THE PLAYS
"The Secret Existentialists"
by Katy Metcalf
Edgar and Camille are hipsters, but they're hiding something...
by Maia Gersten
A young jogger is killed by a passing car and comes back from the dead to say his last goodbyes to the ones he loves.
"From Russia With Love"
by Charlie Newman-Johnson
A cross-dressing spy infiltrates the operations of a Russian mob boss.
”Nothing Much Ado”
by Buck Walsh and Ben Zehr
Love runs amuck in a modern-day adaptation of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.
STUDPROD 2010: CAST MEMBERS
"The Secret Existentialists" Written and directed by Katy Metcalf
- Narrator: Soren Rasmussen
- Camille: Rosa Druker
- Edgar: Jack Gilette
- Peter: Will Erickson
- Jason: Marie Lilly
- Charlie: Evan Ramos
"Last Wishes" Written and directed by Maia Gersten
- Ryan: Jack Gilette
- Cece: Katie Cox
- Kyle: Erick Dietz
- Amy: Caroline Kamm
- Ryan’s Dad: Adam Joseph
- Ryan’s Mom Stefanie Senior
- Dog: Evan Ramos
"From Russia With Love" Written and directed by Charlie Newman-Johnson
- Pierce: Jason He
- Axel: Katayun Salehi
- Peon: Kevin Li
"Nothing Much Ado" Written and directed by Buck Walsh and Ben Zehr
- Brad: Will Erickson
- Chase: Soren Rasmussen
- Jake: Adam Joseph
- Brittany: Grace Anastasio
- Violet: Kate Popetz
- Michelle: Bissy Michael