Two fall plays promise mixes of loss, acceptance

By: Allie Taiber

The cast of the fall play has been preparing next week’s show for months. Late nights and early mornings have added up to countless hours spent on the stage in contributing to this year’s show.

First up is a one act, titled “Variations on a Theme,” featuring a young boy, Nick, who breaks up with his girlfriend just before college. After realizing his mistake, he runs back to the train station just before she leaves in hopes of working things out. As he’s waiting for her to arrive, he imagines all the different scenarios of what could happen, but when his consciousness is led to the reality of the situation, Nick is forced to make a choice: either change his future or simply accept that some things truly are meant to be.

The second main piece, “The Diviners,” is a reflection of the good times prior a tear-triggering tragedy. When a disenchanted preacher comes to town, Buddy Layman forms a unique friendship with the man. As C.C. Showers (the preacher) helps Buddy overcome his fear of water, the small town of Zion, Ind., with some not-so-small problems prays for a fresh start, but it’s taken away before they know it.

“‘The Diviners’ is all about understanding what a miracle is, or how good things really are,” director Michelle Rathe said. “Too often people think things aren’t good enough or that they need to make things better instead of realizing how good things really are until they’re lost.”

She said the themes of loss and acceptance are carried throughout the two productions and are very applicable to the high school and world at large.

“I’ve tried really hard this year to give students the full perspective of acting,” Rathe said. With special guest work provided by UNI associate professor of theater director Richard Glockner, the actors are utilizing different practice styles and learning things together as a team with pieces that aren’t easy, though Rathe said she expects the audience to walk out of the auditorium speechless.

“There will be laughter, surprises and sorrow. My goal is for our audience to come out with a new knowledge about the importance of taking the time to appreciate how good life can be with what you have now,” Rathe said.

With such an emotionally demanding show, the actors are prepared to give all they have on show night. “We’re here every day. You have to be willing to come in and give everything you have, both physically and emotionally. There’s a lot of pressure,” said Claire Chenoweth who plays the character of Buddy Layman.

As the plot strongly revolves around her character’s story, the pressure is on for Chenoweth. “We’ve put a lot of work into this. The audience needs to be willing to free their emotions, get involved and commit,” she said.

But in the beginning, things weren’t working out as smoothly. “We’ve come a really long way. At first I didn’t really feel very in touch with my character, but as we worked with Rathe, Glockner and the other students, we’ve adapted into these characters and their intentions,” senior Leo Gibson said.

After coming together and producing a memorable show, the story isn’t the only thing that members of the cast will remember. “Having people who are funny, kind, genuine, supportive and to be there to help with hards times, and then to go with them to go on stage and grow together while doing what we love is one of the greatest feelings out there,” Gibson said.

With the production coming to an end and show night nearing, students have prepared themselves for what’s ahead. As they step out onto the stage and fall back into character, the slate is wiped clean for the actors to lay all they have on the stage and for the audience to experience a story they’ll never forget.

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