The Clarion University theatre department presented Boeing Boeing this past week in the Marwick Boyd Little Theatre.
The play starred Tree Zuzzio as Bernard, Justin Baumgarten as Robert, Tori Heckert as Berthe, Gabriella Pauley as Gretchen, Betsy Novotny as Gloria and Lindsay Smelcer as Gabriella. The comedy was written by Marc Camoletti and was translated by Beverley Cross and Francis Evans. Director Marilouise Michel put a lot of thought into choosing this particular show, saying, “[It] felt like in this contentious time pretty much everyone could use a couple of hours of someone else’s problems and a few good belly laughs.”
For cast members, this production was very different from others they had participated in. Baumgarten commented on the control this kind of play takes, saying, “Comedy is such a different beast from drama. A single second missed could be fatal in comedy.” For Heckert, a musical theatre major, this was the opposite of what she was accustomed to. “Usually I am [in] more musicals than plays, so it was scary at first but really pushed me out of my comfort zone,” she said. For both actors, the quick, back-and-forth style of humor was the best part of the show. Baumgarten in particular enjoyed the “door slams, fights and kisses,” finding that “bringing that to life was a great pleasure.”
The audiences, according to Baumgarten, a sophomore musical theatre major and one of the male leads of the play, were “pretty fantastic.” He felt they were extremely responsive and attentive, and you could tell they were enjoying the show. Although some students were attending for class credit, eventually even they were completely immersed in the world of the show. “The cast found great triumph whenever a person put down a notebook,” Baumgarten said. Castmate Tori Heckert, a junior musical theatre major and
one of the female leads agreed, saying, “They were involved and interactive and really invested in the show.” Heckert also pointed out that ups and downs with audiences are to be expected with any show, but they were very fortunate to have audiences that were so responsive.
According to Megan Moore, a freshman at Clarion, the show was “the best thing since jet engines.” She found it, and Baumgarten in particular, to be hysterical, and those she attended the show with agreed. Multiple students attended the production more than once, and community members flocked in as well. More students attended this particular show than most of the others that the department has put on in recent years, and members of the department are hoping that this trend continues.
The Clarion University theatre department will be opening its next production, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, on the Nov. 16, 2016. It will be directed by Professor Robert Bullington and will also take place in the Marwick Boyd Little Theatre.