To kick off the spring semester's theatre season, Lee Theatre is set to present “This Random World,” a play written by the prolific American playwright Steven Dietz.
The play's opening nights will be Feb. 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the Buzz Oates Black Box Theater and will continue to run Feb. 21-23 at 7:30 p.m.
Assistant Professor of Theatre and director of “This Random World” Dan Buck said that he was drawn to this play for a few reasons, such as what he said was a fresh storyline.
“The play is about these six or seven people whose lives are almost connecting with each other in a million different ways,” Buck said. “[For example,] this person just broke up with this person who happened to be the sister of their boss, and they keep having these just-missed connections with each other. In some ways it’s sort of making fun of the sort of Hollywood tradition of all these coincidences that feel like they’re too much.”
Buck said that the play has interesting messages that will prompt viewer discussion even after the play has concluded.
“I think [the play] asks some interesting questions, and it challenges us to think about things in new ways while it is also very charming and fun to watch,” said Buck. “I think at its heart, [the play] is about being intentional with connection instead of just expecting it to fall into our laps.”
Junior theatre major Stephanie Wolfe said that she was also fascinated by the play’s plot.
“The story makes it unique. Steven Dietz, the author, writes in a way that’s very unique to him,” Wolfe said. “I’ve never been in a play that has so many connecting themes. One thing that our director says is that every time he has read the play, he learns something new and exciting.”
Wolfe said that actors push themselves in new ways to ensure the audience will be engaged during the performance due to the intimate aspects of theatre.
“The whole process of working on the show is very enlightening because you’re usually only acting with two people at a time—you and one other person,” Wolfe said. “You have to focus on just the one person, you’re not focusing on three people. As an actor you have to put all of your energy and all of your confidence into this one [other] person, and it’s scary sometimes but definitely worth it.”
Associate Professor in Music Theory and Composition Dr. John Wykoff said that writing the soundtrack for the play utilized his musical talents in novel ways.
“The kind of music that [Buck] wanted was appealing to me because it was very different from anything that I usually do. I was eager to do something out of the ordinary for me,” Wykoff said. “[Buck] wanted something mostly electronic; it had been a long time since I had done that. Also it was collaborative—I’m usually a solitary composer.”
Buck said that he loves theatre because it requires the audience to use their imagination, but that this showing will have features, such as rain, to assist viewers in that process.
“We will have rain in the play, using real water that’s falling from the grid,” Buck said. “The sound of the rain is important along with seeing the drips fall. Rain is kind of a metaphor within the play, It means different things, so I’m excited [for that].”
Wykoff said he used distorted sounds of typing on a keyboard to create some of the rain sound effects.
“Rain figures prominently in this play, as does, in my view, computer typing,” Wykoff said. “In a way, one of the main characters creates a scenario for himself because of what he types into the internet…so I think that’s symbolic and important.”
Even if you’re not into theatre, Buck said “This Random World” is worth seeing.
“I really think that people will be fascinated by this play because of what it’s about,” Buck said. “Also we do it in the Black Box Theater, and it is right on top of you. You’re so right-there in the moments because [the scene] is so close. It has this sense of urgency to it when you’re really close to it and it feels really immediate. I think [the play] will ask you interesting questions.”
“This Random World” is a ticketed event, and tickets are available from the box office for the week of the show and one hour before curtain time.
The Black Box Theater box office can by reached by phone at 423-614-8360 or by email at email@example.com.
More information about Lee Theatre's current season can be found at www.leeuniversity.edu/theatre or on the Lee University Theatre Facebook page.