SVSU theatre senior receives recognition for production

Jody, a Map Shopkeeper, sits with Carl in Lonely Planet performance. Vanguard Photographer | Vincent Ford

The SVSU theatre department put on its Studio XP production of “Lonely Planet.” The play was directed by theatre senior Jaden O’Berry, and she said that the show was a success.

“This show was everything I could’ve ever dreamed it being,” she said. “It was successful in the sense that our little group of ragtag theatre creators managed to put a small-scale show on a large-scale stage in only a month. The show was successful because the team working on it were all so inspired and moved by Jody and Carl’s story.”

O’Berry said she hoped the audience members took away just how much their lives truly matter.

“As a queer person, we tend to forget that our stories are just as important as anyone else’s,” she said. “There are traces of us, each of us, that are remembered by our loved ones when we die. Understanding and accepting that the traces you leave should be good ones is something I hope anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, can take away from it.”

Theatre education senior Jared Kaufman played the role of Carl. Kaufman said that the show was relatable to audience members.

“I think friendship is a big part of the show, and I think seeing the connection that Carl and Jody share is special to anyone who can feel the same way about someone in their life,” Kaufman said. “Also, the severity of what it was like to go through the aids epidemic in comparison to the COVID pandemic right now.”

Kaufman also said that it seemed as though audience members took the show to heart.

“I did not see people leaving the show at the end but I was told many left in tears,” Kaufman said. “And from the sound of laughter, audible gasps, and sniffles I feel we made a connection with our audience and that is the sign of a true success.”

O’Berry said that the show was recommended to be a part of the KCACTF (Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival) Celebration of Associate Productions this upcoming January.

“I received a KCACTF certificate of merit for my direction of Lonely Planet,” she said. “Not only this, but both Jared Kaufman (Carl) and Ethan Bach (Jody) received Irene Ryan nominations for the festival, as well.”

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