“Going Out” and “Telephone”

The Phillipian sat in on rehearsals of “Going Out,” directed by Nikki Shen ’12, and “Telephone,” directed by Eliana Kwartler ’12. “Going Out” In “Going Out,” written by Dan Aibel, two nameless buddies known as “A” and “B” meet for drinks in a bar. Played by Nick Camarda ’12 and Scherezade Khan ’12 respectively, the two friends disagree on which matter of conversation is more pressing – B’s intriguing story of finding a phone on the beach, or A’s desperation over a girl. Tension mounts until each character is compelled to reveal white lies they have told each other and other serious, scandalous secrets. For example, B could be communicating more with A’s girlfriend than A knows. The extremes of mood, from giggling to exploding, make this play exciting and allow viewers to relate to the characters’ situations. Tangents in the conversation keep the audience craving for the resolution. “There isn’t so much of a story as there is a backstory. You have to just see between the lines,” explained director Shen. The script gave Shen freedom of interpretation. Both A and B were intended to be male in the original story, but Shen changed the gender of B. “Because I had a boy and a girl, I could play up almost a romantic subtext between them, almost as if B is interested in A, but A doesn’t notice.” Shen found it challenging to balance the freedom her actors had to develop their characters and the level to which they conformed to her vision. She said, “When it comes down to it, I’d rather them have a natural performance than have them acting completely the way I told them to.” “I really like dialogue. I watched Gilmore Girls,” joked Shen, “so I like the way that these two characters just played off of each other.” Viewers will agree that the relationships that entangle and unfold from the quick dialogue make “Going Out” entertaining. “Telephone” “Telephone” by Ginna Hoben transports the audience away from an intimate dialogue to a more crowded and chaotic scene. A long-time couple, Kelly, played by Keely Henesey ’12 and Chris, played by Chris Batchelder ’11, has just broken up. They are now each venting their feelings in their own apartments to friends, played by Evan Eads ’12, Sam Oriach ’11 and Michael Kontaxis ’11. Kelly and Chris expect calls from each other—they jump at each ring of the phone but are too stubborn to initiate a conversation. Both scenes occur simultaneously, almost on the same furniture, with lines overlapping and comments repeating in a lightning-fast storm of emotions. “At different points people will sit on the chairs and use the tables, so people from two scenes can be almost in the same place. I saw it as a metaphor for when they are farther apart or when they’re coming together,” said Kwartler. Kwartler dealt with the challenge of blocking the constant action by holding separate rehearsals for the girls’ and boys’ scenes. She later combined the cast and added actions that one side could be doing while the focus was on the other side. Another obstacle she Kwartler faced was “creating relationships between [characters] who weren’t actually interacting with each other. People have to grasp the fact that Chris and Kelly have been together for so long and love each other so much, and yet they never say a word to each other,” said Kwartler. To help with timing and blocking, they practiced with an “Italian run-through,” which involves running through the play twice as fast as usual. Kwartler said, “The guys at some point have to throw around a football…[During the run-through] they threw it onto the girls’ side and were running onto their side of the stage. No one had any idea what was going on, but at the same time it worked well. It was so high-energy.” With the creative premise of the script and enthusiasm of the cast, this play is bound to be a hit. Kwartler said, “I’m excited to see what happens when the lights turn on.”