This weekend’s production of Stage Two whisked the audience from a diner where one man struggled to overcome a world in which nothing went his way to a college party rife with tangled relationships and drink-related drama. From there, student actors and directors carried on to the Wild West where a Beatles-inspired hero quested for vengeance and finally into a young girl’s dream world of singing storybook friends.
Stage Two chained together four unrelated pieces into a single humorous play that was acted, directed and produced by WSU students. The student theatre group has been working on the production for several months, Stage Technical Director Nate Patterson said. They held auditions in December and began practicing for the show in early January. The students put on the final production Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening in Daggy Hall’s Wadleigh Theatre.
More than 25 students are involved in Stage Two including acting and technical work, Patterson said. Though Stage has put on performances in the past, this is Stage Two’s first year. Both are showcases for student work in theatre at WSU.
The first piece of Stage Two’s four-part showcase was “The Philadelphia,” in which a man finds himself trapped in a world where nothing can be the way he wants. If he asks for something, he is bound to get something else or nothing at all. With the help of a friend he meets in a diner, the man learns to ask for the opposite of what he desires, creating a fast-paced, witty dialogue among the three interacting characters that carries the otherwise straightforward play.
After the lights went down in Philadelphia, actors took the stage for the adult-themed “The Mint Julep Trilogy.” The trilogy moved from “The Mint Julep” to “The Coors Light” and finished up with “The Long Island Iced Tea.” Each piece focused on college women and men dealing with the complex social scene at a party. With heated debates about boyfriend stealing, what drinks to buy a love interest and a potential getaway to Chile, the piece amped up the typical college party into a humorous scene.
Katie Stull, a junior psychology major and audience member, said “The Mint Julep Trilogy” was her favorite piece of the night.
“I think it really played to the audience well as college students primarily,” she said.
After the party ended, the scene changed to the Wild West where Rocky Raccoon had lost his girlfriend and was determined to get her back. Unfortunately for Rocky, no amount of armor or artillery could take down the man who stole his love, and in the end he found himself with a drunk doctor and an old Bible. Though narrated, the piece relied mainly on the use of props, music and physical humor to get the audience laughing.
The final piece of the night brought storybook characters to life in the imagination of a young girl sent to her room. Throughout family-friendly song and dance numbers, the girl met Captain Hook, the Big Bad Wolf and Cinderella’s stepsisters, Prunella and Drizella. Despite her anger at being sent to her room, the girl learns the importance of family through the ridiculous antics of her storybook friends.
Matthew Powers, a junior psychology and communication major, played the Big Bad Wolf in “Through the Storybook,” and said he was happy with the night’s performance.
“I felt it was very well done,” he said. “There was plenty of laughter at the funny parts, no tears because there were no sad parts and a few groans at some of the puns.”
Powers encourages students who are interested in theatre at WSU to get involved with Stage. Theatre meetings are open for interested students every Thursday at 5 p.m. in Daggy Hall’s green room.
Jared Chastain, a senior history major and director of “Rocky Raccoon,” said Stage is a mix of students with diverse majors and interests.
“It’s very much a wide variety of thoughts,” he said.
Stull also urged students to get involved as audience members.
“I would say just come to a show, get involved and see what it’s all about,” she said. “You don’t have to like it, but it’s a new experience. Give it a try.”