By Chris Major
A blind date, a crazy musician, a sock puppet and drinking games.
No, this isn’t a Saturday night party. To keep with the theme of remembering 9/11, TheatreAC will end the semester with the play Recent Tragic Events, a story that takes place the day after Sept. 11, 2001.
In Minneapolis, a young woman named Waverly prepares to go on a blind date as she learns that her sister Wendy, a student in New York, hasn’t been heard from since the attacks.
As the evening progresses, Waverly and her date Andrew start to realize they are connected by a series of coincidences.
The couple also is visited by Ron, a musician, his girlfriend Nancy and Joyce Carol Oats, Waverly’s great aunt. Not to be confused with the famous author, Mrs. Oats is played by a sock puppet.
“Joyce’s character kind of brings a new vision about humanity and free will,” said Bianka Torres, who plays both Nancy and Oats.
Monty Downs, a theater arts instructor, said the play makes the audience consider how much freedom they have over their lives.
“It’s really a discussion about what role does choice play in our lives,” Downs said.
“It raises the question of, as humans, do we really have free will or does fate play a part in what happens?”
The play is presented as a sitcom with a serious backdrop. Downs said while it is humorous, it does not take the events of Sept. 11 lightly.
Jennifer Runberg, who plays Waverly, said the play displays the emotions of the time.
“I have an emotional connection with the story because I have a 9/11 birthday, and I remember the fear and all those emotions that marked the day of my birth,” Runberg said.
“The play does a good job of recapturing all the heartache and fear that people felt and brings us all back to a place of uncertainty.”
Downs said the cast is beginning to understand the subtleties of the play.
“The students are doing a good job with the play,” he said.
“They’re starting to get a feel for it.”
“It’s funny and definitely not your normal drama,” Torres said. “Everything seems to subtly fit the question of predetermined or free will.
“It’s been a challenge playing two characters at once, but it’s been a great learning experience, and I’ve really enjoyed working with everyone involved.”
Published: Wednesday, November 30, 2011