The SVSU theatre department will be returning to the stage with “Lonely Planet” by Steven Dietz.
Theatre senior Jaden O’Berry will be directing the play, as it is a Studio XP production which means that everything is student-run.
“My favorite thing about Lonely Planet is honestly the people I get to create it with,” O’Berry said. “The cohort we have here on this show is so incredible and driven that I do not fear anyone’s ability to do their job effectively. I love watching them find things about the show that I never considered before, and how they choose to fulfill certain elements of the design process, as my background is in lighting design as well.”
This is O’Berry’s first full-length play that she has directed.
She chose this production while looking into works about queer stories.
“I recently came out openly as pansexual last October and was inspired to find something that reflected who I am, and who a lot of my fellow cohort are in the theatre community,” O’Berry said. “Theatre is a place to be transparent about the experience of groups of people, and I wanted there to be a space for LGBTQIA+ voices to shine on SVSU’s stage.”
O’Berry said that this experience has taught her to accept the things she can and cannot change for what they are.
“Leading a show in this capacity is not something I ever imagined I would have the capability of doing, but this department has equipped me with the proper skills and knowhow in leading, and being unapologetic in my ability to do so, that I am no longer afraid of taking charge,” she said.
She said that she has been lucky to work with a great crew all around.
“The cohort we have here on this show is so incredible and driven that I do not fear anyone’s ability to do their job effectively,” O’Berry said. “I love watching them find things about the show that I never considered before, and how they choose to fulfill certain elements of the design process, as my background is in lighting design as well.”
Theatre education senior Jared Kaufman will be playing the role of Carl in the play.
“This part is strange in the fact that I both have so much and very little in common with this character,” Kaufman said. “Carl has a lot of traits I wish I had myself. The trick is to find the relatable parts of a character and play into those aspects. The parts that may be more foreign to you. You just have to make your own and have fun with it. Never be afraid to try new things.”
Kaufman also said that rehearsals have been going well for the show.
“Rehearsals are very similar to other main stage shows,” Kaufman said. “It’s stressful and fun. … It’s weird being around only your peers and not faculty. We can get crazy and never stop laughing or we are dead serious, there really is no middle ground.”
O’Berry said that the show sends a good message.
“The main message is about the things we leave behind when we die,” O’Berry said. “In our COVID-centric climate, this show is incredibly timely in its existential awareness. We all have things about ourselves that our friends/family/etc. will remember when we die, rather than the physical objects we leave behind. The reward of good art, of challenging what it is the traces oneself will leave when they die, is the main question that Lonely Planet poses: what will you choose to leave behind? This show is about taking ownership of your own traces.”