A new movie theater has been installed in the basement of Miami’s Center for Performing Arts. But they aren’t showing movies here. Instead, they are rehearsing for “The Flick,” the Theatre Department’s first play this season, which opens next week in Studio 88.
The play follows the lives of Rose, Sam and Avery, three individuals who are all facing their own demons and insecurities. Through their interactions with one another, a snapshot unfolds for the audience of their journey to discover themselves and their relationships. Annie Baker, the playwright, plays with concepts of love, friendship and the act of moving on.
Less than five weeks of rehearsal were allotted to the cast and crew before their opening night.
“It’s been really intense,” said sophomore Kate Herman, who plays Rose, the only female character in the play. “We blocked the entire show in like eight rehearsals.”
Although the rehearsal period has been short, Sophomore Shelby Scaffidi, the stage manager, believes that it has served the team well.
“I just came off of ‘Wild Party’ which is like the opposite of this, in which we had Spring Break in the middle of it and there was like eight weeks,” she said. “It’s been sort of stressful, but also kind of nice because we know exactly how much time we have and it’s very easy to visualize. It’s short, but it’s good.”
Within these three short weeks, the cast has delved into the depths of the play’s characters. Under the guidance of their director, Saffron Henke, each actor has discovered ways in which they relate to the characters they are portraying.
Junior Ben Cobb finds himself especially similar to his character, Sam.
“My character is too much like my past version of me,” Cobb said. “It’s really, really strange.”
Sam’s personality in the play is lonely and reserved, with many emotions waiting to bubble over. When Cobb reflects on his high school self, he can see similarities.
Junior Joshua George has also found a deep connection to his character, Avery, who in the show is a quiet young man with a passion for film.
“It’s been really interesting because Avery is- I’m very similar to him,” George said. “And if I were shy and awkward all the time, and I’m only partly all the time, I would be Avery.”
Herman notices this in George too, and can relate in the same way to her own character.
“I found it to be a lot easier to relate to the characters versus other shows just because of how the play is written,” she said. “This show reaches out to a lot of people and can grab you by the gut if you really get involved in it. I think it’s a really beautiful show.”
Cobb also notes that just because there are many similarities between himself and the character of Sam, that doesn’t change his process as an actor.
“I’m just one of those people that when I start to play the character, just do it, do what the director tells you, and eventually the character kind of gets molded out of that,” he said. “[Sam] is a really fun guy to play — super energetic, and he has a lot of great little moments.”
The cast and crew agree that one of the beauties of this play is that there is no clear cathartic ending. Instead of catharsis, the audience will be getting an in-depth look at the lives of these three characters. They want to warn audience members that it can get pretty personal.
“It’s not catharsis. Do not come here for catharsis,” George said. “It’s not a plot-based show. It’s very surrounded by these three characters and their failure to be normal. And they all have this notion that they can’t do anything right.”
George and Herman tried to encourage each other to figure out a definite way to describe the meaning of the play and after a few minutes of brainstorming, they reached a conclusion:
“This show does a really good job of portraying real life,” Herman said. “I think that this show is all about realizing that you’re not alone.”
While there still isn’t an operating movie theater in Oxford’s city limits, “The Flick” will serve as an intriguing and reflective entertainment choice for students and locals alike. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 27 through Saturday, September 30, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, October 1 in Studio 88 Theatre. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door.