The theater department will be performing their first show of the semester differently.
“Six Characters in Search of an Author,” is a “metatheater,” which means a play within a play. The play is formatted so the company has to rewrite it to fit with the actors’ real personalities.
There’s a rehearsal taking place at the start of the show with stage members practicing, and then they are interrupted by six characters walking through wanting these actors to perform a different play.
The play is set in the year 2017 in Vermillion to make it authentic and personalized to USD theater, said senior acting major Allie Verry.
The cast was chosen before winter break, and rehearsals started the day they came back. Rehearsals last from 6-10 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 1-5 p.m. Sunday.
Verry plays lead actress Karen, but the script was rewritten so she plays herself. She also uses her own name as her character.
“When we rewrote the script, we added certain things that would be something I would say,” Verry said. “But we would still have to keep with a lot of the main frame of the character that is in the original script. So, I’m not completely myself, but a version of myself.”
Sophomore acting major Alyeska Krull plays the stage manager role, and said she likes the personal aspect of the play.
“That’s a really cool experience to try and heighten your own personality and make it more extreme,” Krull said. “It’s interesting to play myself and not have to stick to a certain character’s personality.”
Verry said she likes the “challenge” of trying to play herself and an actual scripted character. She said her character is “a little more confrontational.”
“It can be so fake thinking about how you have lines, but in real life, I don’t have lines,” Verry said. “It’s this weird balance of trying to just be me but also staying true to the Karen version of the script and also understand that this Allie doesn’t necessarily do things that ‘me’ Allie would do.”
Krull said the hardest part about this play, and others she’s been in, is time commitment.
“A lot of people don’t realize how much time actually goes into being in a show,” Krull said. “It’s not just, ‘Oh you get to read words on a script.’ You actually have to dive into character research, show research, find the time period and context to make this character as 3-Dimensional, 4-Dimensional as you want it.”
Verry said she’s “pumped” for opening night.
“I’m ready for an audience,” she said. “(I hope) we get a lot of students. It’s fun to share this thing that we’ve worked so hard on with people… It would be cool for them to see other side of theater: the imperfect side where we’re working hard and we haven’t quite reached what we’re looking for and we want to try and figure it out. I’m excited to show that.”
Opening night is Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Warren M. Lee Center for Fine Arts. The performances end Feb. 19.