The lights come up on a small stage, illuminating two student actors dressed as a geriatric couple in a sparingly decorated doctor’s office. As they start to bicker in Yiddish accents with interstitial sighs and eye rolls, the few people in the intimate theater laugh and nod approvingly. Even though opening night was 24 hours off, the atmosphere pervading the dress rehearsal for Basement Arts’ latest production, “The Two Couple Play and Other Short Works,” was more than promising.
“The Two Couple Play and Other Short Works”
Tomorrow at 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. Dec 5 at 7 p.m.
From the professionalism of the directors to the dedication of the actors, it’s natural to assume the show has been in rehearsal for a while or that that it’s under the direction of an experienced faculty member. In actuality, rehearsals have been in progress for only three weeks and the cast and crew of the project is composed of students with a varying ranges of theater experience.
“The Two Couple Play and Other Short Works” consists of three one-act plays written, produced, directed and acted by students. Though the three separate works bear similar styles of humor, aesthetic and theme, the variety of characters and stories should appeal to a large and diverse audience. The title piece, “The Two Couple Play,” has succeeded in relating particularly to college-aged audiences.
“I’ve been hearing a lot of really positive feedback I didn’t really expect from ‘The Two Couple Play,’ which is … about what it is like to be in your twenties in 2010,” Zach Smilovitz LSA fifth-year senior, writer of all three plays and first-time director of one said. (Zach is also the Daily’s political satire columnist.)
“It’s very difficult … It feels like a lot of theater today is not about what our age group is going through,” he said.
This production has allowed those involved to explore and experiment with multiple facets of putting on a show. With actors taking very different roles in multiple plays, directors acting as producers and writers trying their hands at directing, this production has been a growing experience for the entire cast and crew.
“I’m in the acting program. I’m also a film director even though I haven’t directed a play since my freshman year here. It’s been four years since I’ve directed a play,” Liam White, Music, Theatre & Dance and LSA fifth-year senior said. White is also the show’s producer and director of one of the plays.
Naturally, these crossovers lead to some complications. Nico Anger, Music, Theatre & Dance fifth-year senior and lead actor in two of the plays, says that instantaneously switching roles between an old Jewish man and a young aspiring 20-something has been his biggest challenge.
“I literally go off stage and come back on 10 seconds later and have to do the next thing,” Anger said.
“It’s difficult jumping from one rehearsal to another with all of the lines … and having to keep them all straight. A lot of the times I start saying lines from other plays or I mix it up and start going into the Jewish accent while I’m in the car. It gets confusing.”
Though producing three very different shows in such a short amount of time presents some obvious challenges, the dedication and talent of everyone involved as seen in rehearsal will be visible come show time. “The Two Couple Play and Other Short Works” will be performed tonight at 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. and tomorrow at 7 p.m. in Studio One at the Walgreen Drama Center. Admission is free.