Eastern New Mexico University’s latest theatrical production is full of laughs, according to the show’s cast and crew, despite matters that wouldn’t be funny in most contexts.
Student actor Robert Garcia, who plays the narrative voice of the playwright for, “The Marriage of Bette and Boo,” set for shows today through Sunday at the University Theatre Center, said the story is a satirical look at a young couple’s life.
Garcia plays the lead character, Matt, at different stages of his life while also narrating the story.
“My character is very intelligent, so him as a child isn’t a normal child,” Garcia said.
“Which is ironic, because we’re both idiots,” Student actor Brandon Gilliard added, laughing and gesturing to co-star Mandi Hatcher, who plays his character’s (Boo) wife and Matt’s mother.
The three students said although the play deals with serious issues, the way the issues are portrayed is comical and slapstick.
“I think you’ll feel bad that you’re laughing at their pain, but you really can’t help it,” Hatcher said. “I definitely like this play though, because it’s serious but funny and a little dark. I kind of like being able to bounce back and forth with the different genres.”
All three students said this production was their first time working under Dean of Fine Arts Joseph Kline as a director.
Kline said he asked the theater department to put on the play under his direction because he had produced the play previously and has always enjoyed the work of its author, Christopher Durang.
“Durang is a playwright who manages to write great verbal and visual jokes and yet really touch the core of humanity at the same time, and I think he does that exceptionally well in this play,” Kline said. “I thought this play was particularly exceptional because of its comedy and emotional depth.”
Kline said preparing for the production with the theater students has been fun and exciting.
“They’re inquisitive and hard-working and just a joy to be around,” Kline said the of the young actors. “I think we’re all really excited to be part of what is going to be a great show. The whole thing is coming together very nicely.”
The students said audience members will find themselves mostly laughing during the production with the dysfunction of an alcoholic father and a mother who obsesses over having more children.
“I think people will start to empathize as the story goes on,” Gilliard said. “One of the characters is more sane than the others, but that’s up to the audience to decide who that is.”