To kick off the Fall 2008 theatre production season, the SHSU Theatre Department has produced two student directed plays, “An Actors’ Nightmare” and “Dying City”.
The shows opened Tuesday night in the University Theater Center. The plays will run through Oct. 4. at 8 p.m., with a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m.
“An Actors’ Nightmare,” written by Christopher Durang, has a six person cast and is directed by theatre student Amanda Broomas. The play is literally an actors’ nightmare, following one man through a realistic but farcical dream sequence.
“It’s about a guy who gets thrown into this nightmareIt’s basically every actor’s nightmare. You’re not really knowing if it’s real or not – if it’s a dream or if it’s real,” Broomas said. “He’s just trying to get through to wake up.”
The main character, George Spelvin, is played by actor Calvin Hudson, and spends the entire 40-minute run onstage.
“Any role where you have to be on stage the entire time and the forward motion of the play depends entirely on you, is a very difficult challenge, even when it’s as short as it is,” Hudson said. “it’s the test of an actors metal.”
The second play of the evening is “Dying City” by Christopher Shinn, directed by Jennifer Jackson. The two-person play focuses on a widow, her late husband, and the late husband’s identical twin brother. Tasheena Miyagi acts in the role of Kelly, with Zach Lewis playing both the late husband, Craig, and the identical twin brother, Peter.
“He’s come to find out questions, and find out the mystery of why he died,” Jackson said. “I liked it because it’s very modern, it’s very now. It has a lot of issues about Iraq, because the brother Craig does die in the military.”
The play reflects emotionally on modern issues, varying stylistically from many plays performed in the SHSU theatre.
“It’s like a film script, basically,” Miyagi said. “It’s just bringing it to a real level. I like that it’s in the showcase because it’s such an intimate theater and the arch of an eyebrow will say so much and it’s different from shows we do here.”
With the emotional draw of the work and the small cast, the actors faced challenges discovering their characters and adding depth to their performances.
“The weight that is on both actors that are cast in the show. It’s very evenly split. The male characters probably talk a little bit more, but there’s not as much emotional weight as there is in scenes when Kelly is post-death,” Lewis said. “The emotional stress is a lot more.”