Next week marks the first time in five years that the Geneseo campus has offered students the chance to see a play that was written, produced and performed entirely by students.
"The Pardon," an entirely student-constructed VegS.O.U.P. production, will make its debut in the Robert Sinclair Theater of Brodie Hall on April 9 at 8 p.m. and run on Friday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Admission will be $5.
An original script written by senior Danny Carroll proves to be the foundation to quite the collaborative adventure. Senior Gavin Price is directing the show and everything down to the design is controlled and conducted by Geneseo's brightest.
Despite the action taking place in a bombed-out, futuristic Washington, D.C., Price said that "It was born here. I was there as Danny was writing."
Carroll supported the partnership, stating, "We found a balance that was already there, and we changed things in the beginning of production to fit our needs."
According to Carroll, many aspects of the show, including the ending, are actually completely different from the original. "You can't do that with a published work," he said. "A lot that was developed in production isn't innate in the story itself."
Much of Price's directorial work focused on characterization and identifying intentions. Through asking actors to create back-stories for their parts, Price was able to harness each performer's creativity into a well-developed character.
"It's like acting in Chekhov," said Price, "You have to know the relationships so deeply with each character."
Following in the vein of this philosophy, the cast members of "The Pardon" charged their characters with emotions that go beyond the given text. "They're really rowdy and creative people," said Price with a grin. "Things develop because of it."
The main and most undefined character Keats, played by senior David French, was said to have evolved the most throughout the rehearsal process.
"He's a very bland human being who's at the center of all these strong personalities," said Carroll. "We wanted to define the character through his performance."
The character of Keats struggles to decipher the chaos occurring around him and figure out how he fits into it.
"He winds up being funny … the way his interactions are with other characters," said Price. Though Keats is probably the last man one would see as comical (since he is a convicted murderer who has spent seven years in jail) his character is actually the closest of the entire cast of the play to being an "average Joe."
Alongside Keats is his inventor brother Elbert, played by junior Nick Ponterio, who is mauled by his own creation (a mechanical hand). Elbert's wife Greta, played by junior Jen Thorpe, is a raging woman who will compulsively mow down any "threat" that enters her home.
"The story has enough questions that you'll leave with something to talk about," said Carroll. Added Price, "There are a lot of ideas in the show."
Both Price and Carroll's achievements are an encouragement and an inspiration to all students. To all of his peers who wish to see their visions on stage, Carroll has two words of advice: "Do it!"