Growing up, being in love and the expectations of married life are just a few of the issues three young brides-to-be grapple with while bar-crawling in Adam Bock's play “The Drunken City,” a dramatic comedy produced by the theater arts program at the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University.
When one of the bachelorettes meets a handsome stranger and starts to question her marriage plans, everyone is forced to consider their own sense of themselves, the mystique of marriage and what it means to be an adult in a world they still don't quite understand.
“The Drunken City” will play at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 7-8, and Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 13-15, in the Center Square Theatre on the Southern Oregon University campus, off South Mountain Avenue in Ashland. Matinees will be at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 15-16. Tickets cost $21, $18 for seniors and $6 for students. Tickets can be purchased at SOU's Performing Arts box office in the adjacent Music Building, online at sou.edu/performingarts and by calling 541-552-6348.
The six 20-something characters struggle with issues of identity and expectation.
“I like that we can work on something that is so intimately familiar to both the actors and the college-age audience,” says director Jackie Apodaca. She adds that the themes explored in the play are issues that older audiences can also reflect upon or are still dealing with. “It doesn't matter how old we are, we all have roles we play in life, mother, father, child, employee, and sometimes those roles clash with other things we want or how we see ourselves.”
Apodaca says she also was interested in the stranger elements of the play, such as moments when characters step out of shared scenes and address the audience to offer glimpses into their inner thoughts.
“I was attracted to the weirder, more surrealistic aspects of the play that are butted right against the very naturalistic, almost cinematic writing style. There are scenes that really could take place in the most contemporary television show that go right into very surrealistic theatrical moments where the whole city tilts,” Apodaca says. “I am very interested in juxtaposing those two aspects and making them work.”
Balancing the cinematic feel of the play with its more surrealist elements was a challenge, Apodaca says.
“We didn't want to blur the edges of the two worlds, but rather we wanted to accentuate them,” Apodaca says. The play relies on light and sound, or lack thereof, to shift focus. “We move from the loud club music to a more quiet inner world. The monologues and moments of stillness go into full silence, which reflects that feeling of being in a busy place when something shocking happens. Those moments tend to shut out everything else, and the world gets quiet.”
The cast is made up of SOU's advanced theater students: Beth Boulay, Stephanie Neuerberg, Cesar Perez-Rosas, Zlato Rizziolli, Emily Serdahl and Samuel L. Wick. Scenic designer is Cassandra del Nero, and Alethia Moore-Del Monaco heads costume design. Light and sound for the show are provided by Evan Carbone and Sean Fisk, respectively.