arts

Students perform final play



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Caroline Huerta performs during the University Players' production of "BOB: A Life in Five Acts" at the Studio Theatre. Buy Photos

The University Players performed their final shows of the semester  Friday and
Saturday.

“BOB: A Life in Five Acts” shows one man’s life journey from birth to death.

“It’s essentially just this eager, bright-eyed, hopeful kid becoming a man and searching for what it takes to be great,” Director Nick Pecoraro said. “It’s new and quirky.”

Megan Gray, stage manager for the play, compared it to the film “Forrest Gump.”

“He goes on these crazy adventures and makes a lot of friends along the way,” she said. “At the end, there are interviews with people he met, and it shows the impact he had on them.”

“BOB” was written by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb and is a relatively new play. Pecoraro was able to email the playwright about questions he had regarding the production while the cast and crew worked throughout the semester. 

“We didn’t have any past productions to base it on,” Pecoraro said. “I could just email the playwright, and he responded within the day. It makes it more human and is a better way to get insight into a new work.”

Every spring, the University Players take production submissions for the next year, and one board member submitted “BOB.”
 
“We just loved it,” said Gray.

“BOB” was performed by a total of five actors, but it included a wide variety of different characters.

The main character, Bob, was played by one actor, and the rest of the cast was made up of chorus characters.

“It was fascinating seeing them completely transform themselves,” said Gray. “Everything from a trucker to a prostitute to Bob’s mother. These four actors were so
talented.”

The main character travels to about 20 different places during the entirety of the show, which Pecoraro said proved to be a challenge for the set designers.

“We didn’t actually have a set, which is not common,” Pecoraro said.

To depict these different scenes, designers made video projections that served as the background for the majority of the performance.

“It was a new challenge for us,” Gray said. “It was quite extensive and took some time.”

Each play takes a lot of work for the group, made up completely of undergraduate members.

Auditions for “BOB” took place in October, and since then the group has been hard at work, Gray said.

“It’s a huge challenge,” Pecararo said. “Everyday there are new realizations and challenges that pop up in the script. How do we get a train into a small little theater? How do we show Mount Rushmore? You really go through a lot.”

Practices, rehearsals, creating the projections, designing the costumes, planning the props and a lot of other outside work went into this production.

“It took a fantastic team to put this together, but it was worth it,” Gray said.
 
Next semester, the group is performing two plays written by aspiring undergraduate playwrights in the group, Sam Barkley and Nick Pappas.

They also plan to do a traveling children’s musical, which will be put on at the Monroe County Public Library and other venues around Bloomington.

Next semester closes with a show called “35 mm,” directed by Sam Ostrowski. The group hopes to incorporate photography into this play as a multimedia platform.

To get involved with the University Players, visit their Facebook page, facebook.com/UPTheater, and look for flyers around campus about upcoming opportunities.

“We would love students to get involved,” said Gray. “We’re always looking for actors, singers, stage directors, anything. If you’re passionate, we want you here.”

Follow reporter Alison Graham on Twitter @AlisonGraham218.

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