ideoBy Marshall Cearfoss
With performances of The Drowsy Chaperone taking place near the end of the month, some of the cast members must practice having personalities entirely unlike their own.
“He’s a hermit,” said sophomore Trey Treadway, about his character Man in Chair (or narrator), “he doesn’t like society too much. He’s not a people person. He stays in his apartment the whole time.”
The Drowsy Chaperone is the comedic story of a lonely man who escapes his sadness by listening to old records of Broadway musicals that come to life right in front of the audience.
“It’s a show within a show,” said Bree’Ann Higgins, sophomore, assistant stage manager. “The opening scene begins with Man in Chair, and he describes one of his favorite musicals, and then you’re transported into the story. And you get to watch all this mishap and mayhem unfold.”
With such a diverse set of characters, some cast members have been assigned to parts that are quite contradictory from their natural personalities.
“I’m more of a people person. I don’t really like to isolate myself too much,” said Treadway, “that’s probably why he’s the most challenging character I’ve ever played. It is difficult. There are a lot of lines. I have to keep in mind what keeps it funny and how I need to deliver it.”
Sophomore Mark Becker plays Robert Martin, the main male role in the show, who can often act rather differently than Becker himself.
“Robert is- He’s not fake, but he’s one of those ‘plastic’ characters,” said Martin, “is somewhat naïve, and very deer-in-the-headlights sometimes.”
Becker explained how Robert’s naivety results in him nearly always smiling “…whether or not it’s appropriate at the time.”
“He gets lost in the moment a lot,” Becker said, “and he forgets where he is and kind of what he’s doing- that causes him a lot of trouble. So that’s not where I fall in that regard.”
For Julianne Casey, a sophomore playing Janet Van de Graaff, The Drowsy Chaperone is her first theatre production.
“She’s the Hollywood star, and she’s very into herself,” Casey said about Janet Van de Graaff, “she’s about the show biz’, and she’s the number one star at that time. But she’s giving up all of her fame to marry Robert Martin. So, her director throughout this show, he’s kind of begging her the whole time to come back to the Hollywood world and to not give it up.”
Unlike some of the other cast/character matches, Casey feels rather connected to her part.
“It’s funny because I feel like her character is so much of me- you know, being a voice major, and that’s what I want, performance and to be that way, to be that character. So, it’s fairly easy for me to portray her, but I just kind of have to be really over the top and thinking about myself first and how everyone wants to know about me. I identify well with her.” said Casey.
Although some of the characters differ from their respective cast members, there is still a considerable amount of overlap.
“He’s a theatre nerd, a Broadway musical nerd. He’s an expert in all of it,” said Treadway about his character, “When he gets sad, he listens to music, and it helps him feel better. He kind of goes some place else. So I can connect with that, and understand his meaning.”
Becker also found some connections with his character.
“He’s almost like a really happy, peppy newscaster. Always just has that smile,” said Becker, “Robert is very romantic, so I can connect to him in that regard. He’s very one-track-minded, and he gets nervous quite a bit, or he’ll get jittery and he’ll have to do something to take his mind off of it. …wanting to take your mind off stress, that’s most of what his part involves with.”
Without revealing the grand ending, Casey summarized Janet’s learned lesson, and ultimately what the play teaches the audience.
“I think she learns the importance of love,” said Casey, “and in the end, love wins. That’s what we want to hear, right?”
Directed by professor Jacob Davis, The Drowsy Chaperone will be showing on Feb. 24-27 in Wise Auditorium.