Life + Arts

Cast bonds, spreads message

The ensemble cast of Scott Kaiser’s “Now This” features 19 actors and actresses that play a total of 62 characters. The play can be seen at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Performing Arts through Sunday. | Photo by Pin Lim, courtesy of UH School of Theatre and Dance

After months of rehearsal, the cast of “Now This” will be performing the play’s world premiere this week until April 24. And after working to develop the play, the cast is eager to see how their audiences respond.

“I hope the audience listens to the needs of these characters and gets the messages that they try to share or that they learn from these characters mistakes,” said junior Andrew Garrett, who plays William Zagnut. “This production could be watched for the spectacle of the theater, but I think that would do the play a great injustice. It has meaning behind it.”

Because the play has never been performed for public audiences, the cast has had a hand in its development.

“I felt a great sense of freedom while rehearsing, because this is the first time that any of these characters will be performed,” said senior Kimberly Hicks, whose character is Amana McNugget. “I didn’t feel restricted by what previous actors did, or how previous performances were done, I felt that I could be a lot more daring.”

During rehearsals and the production of the play, cast members were given the opportunity to get to know each other, and they worked closely.

Some attribute the success of the production to the bonds that have been formed.

“The most fulfilling part of being a part of this cast was the ensemble we formed at a very early stage,” said freshman Katie Maddox, who plays Amy Clearblue. “The dedication level brought to this project far exceeded that of any other show I have been a part of. I could not have asked for a more wonderful cast and crew.”

The cast of the play varied in age and classification across the board. The cast consisted of freshman through seniors, graduate students, and a hired actor to play the role of the narrator or ‘First Voice’.

Joel Sandel, who plays ‘First Voice’, said that this is just one more thing that made this cast and the production special.

“One of the most exciting things about working with this company of actors is watching these amazingly gifted young artists, at the outset of their careers,” Sandel said. “Too often acting jobs become just that, ‘jobs’. To be among this young company, teeming with such energy and enthusiasm, has been a tremendous gift.”

The cast has talked about all that the play has to offer and why they themselves were excited about the production. It is their hope that the same things will attract audiences.

“Another attractive quality in the show was its sharpness,” Garrett said. “It had a message and it didn’t matter if I was offended by it because that’s the way life is.

“The play was in your face, reflecting all the flaws of modern humanity, and refuses to let up, to excuse or pardon itself on behalf of one person’s views.”

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