University Players will premiere a stage reading of “Memories For Sale” Dec. 3-4, 2021. The show was written by IU senior Spencer Lawson and is directed by IU junior Anna Lagrange.
Both shows will be at 7:30 p.m. in A200 in the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center. Tickets are free and first come, first serve.
“New plays are so exciting and this story is such a beautiful representation of how a group of people who seemingly are disconnected or disjointed have a lot more in common than they think,” Lagrange said.
“Memories For Sale” follows Ben and Jennifer, a couple in a small town. Ben’s brother is killed before the events of the show, and the play deals with the emotions of the aftermath. A lot of the show follows the journey of grief and memories people hold, Lagrange said.
“It’s how different people conceptualize a memory,” Lagrange said. “For some, it’s more of a person or a very physical idea and others it's this very fantastical story.”
“Memories For Sale” is an original play by Lawson. Every year, University Players picks a show written by an undergraduate student and puts on a stage reading at the end of the fall semester, Lawson said.
The play grew from amalgamation of a lot of different ideas, Lawson said. In 2019, he originally thought of it as a short film about two brothers, then one about an entire town. Lawson officially started writing the play in November of last year.
“It was partly just an experiment for me after I had a death in the family and I started writing about that topic,” Lawson said. “This was moreso for myself, as a way of exploring my own feelings and my own frustrations, and when I came up with the idea, I never expected it to be read by anyone.”
Lawson said he hopes people will see themselves in the characters they hate and see parts of who they want to be in the characters they love. As the story follows themes of grief, Lawson takes from his own grieving processes to depict that there is no wrong way to grieve.
“Sometimes you'll say mean things and sometimes people will argue and sometimes you'll yell because of grief, but that doesn't make you a bad person,” Lawson said. “I want you to take away that there is no such thing as good or bad, there is just human.”
The cast rehearsed each weekday from 7-10 p.m. starting right before Thanksgiving break. Lagrange said she encouraged the cast to explore their own characters. They spent a portion of early rehearsals working on understanding their characters and conceptualizing their memories and feelings, Lagrange said.
While working with a new play like “Memories For Sale,” Lagrange said there is something exciting about being the first people to originate the roles.
“Whatever they do will permanently forever be a part of these characters,” Lagrange said. “It’s exciting because you're literally the one that everyone else will in some way base their character off of.”
IU sophomore and stage manager Justin Tidd said he believes this show will positively affect people as they ponder about the themes of grief and memories.
“It’s definitely one that makes people think,” Tidd said. “Obviously in theater, that's something that I think is really important because you don't want to sit and watch the show for two hours and not leave the room feeling changed.”