By Ruhi Gandhi
Assistant Arts Editor
Post Theatre Company (PTC) presented the Virgil J. Lee New Play Festival: “Reporting Live” on February
3 and February 5. Originally written by Michael Finke and directed by Chris Carcione, the cast and production team included Taylor Bass, Ethan Moore Dodd, Marlin Slack, Melissa Bianchi, Aaron Cooper, Paul Bakey, Logan Dewitt, Brandon Bennett, Jenna Gadille, Cayla Michael, Lauren Gissentanna, and stage manager Kayla Bernie.
Reporting Live, as mentioned on PTC’s Facebook page, is based on a true story about Christine Chubbuck, an American television news reporter who committed suicide during a live television broadcast in 1974, leaving viewers and the nation in shock. The story follows the events in Chubbuck’s life that led to her broadcast. The piece explores media outlets in the 1970s, while also having particular political relevance to problems today in relation to broadcasting and media and how influential they are.
The show was captivating and the cast did a good job of telling the story. “I thought that is was a very interesting way to add to the discussion around mental illness. It painted the realities and even the grey area of mental illness in such an original way, fully illustrating how all consuming the topic is. It was also very interesting to see the show as a work in progress rather than a finished product and I think that in its completion it could really affect some people,” said Tanner Bolin, a junior musical theatre major who went to see the show.
The level of emotional involvement and intimacy with the audience was unexpected. “I thought the show included a superb group of young actors and actresses that told an interesting story. There was a perfect balance of sadness and humor throughout the play and it really drew me in,” mentioned Lauren Hiraldo, a sophomore dance major. The fact that this was something that happened in reality really made the whole of it overwhelming. However, it is fair enough to say that the show should have advertised a warning. The play could have been intense on the audience’s emotions, touching personal topics such as mental illnesses, and suicide that could potentially upset members in the audience, unintentionally. “Even I had to get up and leave for a minute, simply because I was so overwhelmed,” Griffin Lockette, a sophomore theatre major, said.