I’ve been aching to watch a play since I got here, but the ticket prices at the Wharton Center isn’t justifiable to me right now. So imagine my pleasure when I found out that our small town’s Williamston Theatre is producing a new play entitled End Days. The best part was — the first night is pay-what-you-can. The first play date is the preview night and the director asks the audience for comments right after the show.
I wanted so much to take a picture of the set, but of course it wasn’t allowed. I was excited to see it just because it looks so much like the small theatres we see in TV sitcoms. Having a small venue also makes the play and the actors more enigmatic because you watch and hear them up close. Where Lorie and I were seated, we were right at the second row and the actors were just a couple of feet away. There was no platform or gap at all between the actors and the audience. That’s how small the theatre was but I actually preferred it this way.
End Days is set a few weeks after 9/11. It consisted of just five characters with one actor playing two (Jesus and Stephen Hawking). The production was evidently simple and minimalist but every prop and stage design were functional and artistic. It’s no Esplanade Theatre and there was no change of sets at all. It was just the actors entering and exiting but the props made of stools and shelves only were designed for various purposes and they worked!
As a summary, End Days touched a very serious topic on science and religion but the playwright, Deborah Zoe Laufer, wrote the script to be as hilarious as possible and created the characters with their own unique blend of craziness and vulnerability. It is about a disintegrating family being pulled by religion and indifference into opposite sides. Their lives change after Nelson, a funny and infectiously happy teenager dressed up as Elvis Presley, showed them how to be a family again.
I seriously LOVE the play for its brilliant and humorous script and for the actors doing justice on it. The actor who played Arthur, John Manfredi, was also in the movies Real Steel and Ides of March, and will be seen in the upcoming film Great and Powerful Oz. I’ll make sure to watch out for him when I see it. 🙂
Williamston Theatre, Mid-Michigan’s only professional live theatre, is a nonprofit organization and has been kept running since 2006 by ticket sales, volunteers, and donors. They are also selling some fine artworks and paintings for their fundraising. If you’re fond of plays like me, ask your friend or your family to watch with you because I just know you won’t be disappointed. 🙂 Let’s support our small-town theatre!
After that first great experience I had with their show, I surely would like to go back for more! I actually already have a list of their upcoming shows for the rest of the year! And maybe one day I can finally get Kyle to sit through one. 🙂