Tulane Theatre and Dance premieres stories of human connection

Only a month into the new school year, Tulane’s Department of Theatre and Dance is already wrapping up preparations on its first production of the year. Directed by Ray Proctor, assistant professor of theater and dance, and consisting of two separate one-act plays, the show will open on Tuesday, Oct. 3.

The first one-act play, titled “The Zoo Story” and written in 1958 by Edward Albee, will feature a cast of only two actors. Senior John Berner plays Jerry, an eccentric, solitary character whose vivid emotional outbursts contrast with the more carefully contained frustrations of his counterpart, Peter, played by sophomore Noah Hazzard.

While the two characters meet in a rather uncomplicated setting, a bench in Central Park, they manage to connect and clash in a multitude of different ways over the course of less than an hour, with each leaving the other transformed by the time their paths once again diverge.

“I mean this was a revolutionary play when it was written, and there’s a lot of layers … It’s really about reaching out to people and how our society is … a little closed off, which, especially now even many years after it’s been written — that still rings true,” Hazzard said.

The second one-act play, written by Robert Patrick in 1979, is titled “My Cup Ranneth Over” and will feature junior Drew Pearson as Paula, a persistent aspiring journalist. Pearson is accompanied by senior Jordan Eisenberg who plays the role of Yucca, a rising star in New York’s 1970’s punk rock scene, and Paula’s best friend and roommate.

“It was a lot of balancing style with realism, which is a very interesting thing because we treated it like a sitcom, but rooted in reality very much rooted in … a very real and genuine place,” Pearson said.

Both plays have come together in little more than three weeks time, and while members of both casts said scrambling to memorize lines was a large part of preparation, both the actors and the director remarked on the positive, productive energy of the team and recalled even the more frenzied moments with fondness.

The two plays are joined by a common theme of desire for contact and communication with another person.

“These two productions are about connection, looking for connection, people needing to talk to another person, people needing to see and be seen by other people … I think that’s the complimentary relationship between these two plays,” Proctor said.

The show will open at 8 p.m. on Oct. 3 in the Lupin Theater. Following opening night, it will run at 8 p.m. on Oct. 4-6 and 2 p.m on Sunday, Oct. 8.

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