By Ashley Bowden, Jennifer Coley
Arts & Entertainment Editor, Staff Writer
Just a few weeks into the new semester, MFA theater students are preparing for a mainstage production with the Post Theater Company (PTC). The department usually hires outside directors for mainstage shows, but this year will be the first time master’s students direct the undergraduate students in the program. “It’s a bit [of an] experiment for the department,” Kayleigh Jacobs, second year MFA student and director of “In the Wake,” said. “They’re trusting us with their kids, which is a big deal, so that’s why I’m a little frantic and want it to go very well.”
Three different plays, “In the Wake,” “Glengarry Glen Ross,” and “Dead Man’s Cell Phone,” will be directed by Kayleigh Jacobs, Brady C. Ness and Chamila Priyanka respectively. The shows will run in repertory form starting March 23-25 to March 29-31. “We have three plays that are going up at the same time which is a little [crazy] and chaotic,” Jacobs said, “We’ve got three rehearsal rooms and three full casts.”
Jacobs is both nervous and excited about directing her first play in spring 2018. She came across the play by accident and immediately felt a personal connection to its message. “We were told to pick something we are passionate about, and I really feel like I connected with this play a lot,” she sad.
“In the Wake,” written by Lisa Krone, is set in the year 2000. Jacobs chose the script because she recognized parallels between events that happened in that time period and events that are happening now. The play highlights topics including 9/11, LGBT issues and politics concerning the presidential election of George W. Bush. “My plan is to keep it classic,” Jacobs said. “I think the message of the play, politically and personally, is super important.”
The show is about protagonist Ellen, portrayed by sophomore musical theatre major, Sarah Franklin, wanting the world to change for the better, but she is not willing to change it herself. “She’s not willing to change herself or the way that she lives in order to help make the world a better place, and I think a lot of people can relate to that,” Jacobs said.
Ellen continually experiences ashbacks throughout the play. “She’s realizing that it’s not one decision that you make, that it’s a bunch of different decisions that lead you to where you are,” Franklin said.
The cast spent the first few rehearsals getting to know each other better. “A lot of what makes this play so special is that it really attacks [the] idea of family,” Isabelle Rutens, junior musical theatre major, said. “It’s a really loving environment. The whole cast just clicks; it’s like we already have that family energy.” Rutens plays the character Laurie, a chef married to a woman named Kayla, portrayed by Laura Gilchrist, sophomore musical theatre major. “I’m really excited to do nothing but eat, sleep and breathe this crazy, complicated production,” Rutens said.
“I feel like this is a very important show,” Gilchrist said. “[With] the politics that are being brought up, it’s a handful for people to take in.” She is in the process of researching matters her character addresses in the script in order to deliver an honest performance. Gilchrist is excited to be performing for the first time in a PTC mainstage production.
“I hope I can communicate to my actors, who are all much younger than me, how important it is to recognize what you need to change in order to change the world,” Gilchrist said. “We have to sacrifice a lot in ourselves to make the world better.”
“In the Wake” will be performed at the Little Theatre on March 23 and 29 at 7:30 p.m. and March 25 at 3 p.m. Tickets are available online at www.tix55.com/ptc700. Prices are $15 for general admission, $12 for seniors and $10 for students.