Difficult themes prevalent in play

Difficult themes prevalent in play

Audience members may enter Darby Hope Theater for Alpha Psi Omega’s production of Neil LaBute’s “The Distance from Here” only being able to relate to familiar music from the early ’90s.

Senior Brian Berrens, a member of the theater honor society, said the play will reflect the difficult life of a teenager in that decade.

“We’re going to try and fit it as closely as we can with a lot of the music from then. We’ll use music that is indicative of that time frame and costume from that era,” Berrens said. “The play is going to reflect that with a little bit of anger, teenage angst and grungy weirdness.”

However, guest director Rachel Roberts said by the end of the show the audience will be able to relate to the relationships within the difficult themes of the show.

“It includes topics about how people are raised. It includes racist things, it includes sexual things, it includes someone people might normally write off,” Roberts said. “It is ultimately about humanity and about what makes us human.”

The story involves Darrell, a teenager growing up in suburbia, and his difficulty with his friends and family. Berrens said portraying Darrell has already been challenging and a lot of the characters seem to be “stuck” where they are in life.

“For me, this guy does stuff I would never do,” Berrens said. “At the same point, I have not been pushed with my back against the wall where the only way to try to get out of the situation is to fight back.”

Members of Alpha Psi Omega have been closely involved with the development of the show, which will include a minimal set. Parts of the show will be read, while some parts will be fully staged. Roberts said she spent time deciding which scenes would be read and which ones would be staged in order to enhance the theater experience for both the actors and the audience.

“I considered the demands on the actors – some are in another production,” Roberts said. “It will be something that will stretch us … it lessens the burden on everyone. I looked at what was exposition and what was action. Scenes fully acted respond to a situation. Actors hear a scene, feel a scene as being read. The response is the scene that is acted out.”

Junior Hali Jewell said the combination of techniques is new to her.

“I’ve never done (reading and stage acting together) before,” Jewell said. “It’s not as hard as I thought it would be. There is not much of a difference.”

Through the variety of performance and the topics addressed, Jewell said it will be a show to remember.

“I don’t know anyone like these characters,” Jewell said. “Even so, with the ages they are and how developed they are I can relate to them. I think students will get that. It’s catching even if it is upsetting. It will stay in their head. It is not something they will forget right away.”

The performances of “The Distance from Here” will be Nov. 17, 18 and 19.