Asbury Theatre Presents “The Dining Room”
September 20, 2016
WILMORE, Ky. — Seemingly floating in darkness, a dining room table commands attention in the middle of Asbury University’s Greathouse Theatre. When the lights go up on Thursday, it will be the centerpiece of show that pushes Asbury theater students to new levels of creative excellence.
Asbury’s Theatre & Cinema Performance Program will present “The Dining Room,” a play by A.R. Gurney, Sept. 22-24. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Greathouse Theatre. Tickets ($5 per person) can be purchased online and will be available at the door.
Directed by Kate Goodwin, an adjunct professor at Asbury, the play invites audiences to view interactions around a dining room table passed down through different families. Often described as a “comedy of manners,” “The Dining Room” wittily explores family, social class and changing American culture.
“This is a great show educationally, because there are lots of characters,” Goodwin said. “I have a cast of 11, and each one plays at least three characters. Students playing older characters don’t use makeup — it’s about physicalization of the character and just using the language the playwright gave.”
For audiences, the play will provide an engaging look — sometimes funny, sometimes sad — at the many kinds of interactions that take place around the table.
“It shows what spending time around the dinner table can look like for different families,” said Melina Martinez ’18, who plays three characters in the show. “It talks about all those different types of conversations and meals people have at the dinner table, and it breaks that barrier of the dining room being just this happy place where you have Thanksgiving once a year.”
Playing multiple characters has been a helpful challenge, Martinez says, requiring her to transition quickly between roles. In addition to juggling costume changes and prop changes, Martinez has learned to prepare for character changes mentally and emotionally.
“You have a lot less time, and each character comes from a completely different era, is a different age and a different person,” Martinez said. “That’s lot to change within a 15-minute time span.”
To learn more about Asbury’s Theatre and Cinema Performance Program, visit: asbury.edu/theatre