UI Theater Gallery Series production Trouble: A Foot to present dark comedy


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Chaos descends on a cabin in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. There are feet in cabinets, axes in hands, and a woman in a chest. This is Marek Muller’s quirky creation Trouble: A Foot.

As part of the Theater Department’s Gallery Series, Muller’s play will d├ębut at 8 p.m. today in the Theater Building’s Theatre B. Performances will continue through Jan. 27 with a 2 p.m. show.

Admission is free for UI students with valid IDs, $5 for the general public.

When Muller created this dark comedy, her partner in crime Morgan Miller was her obvious choice for director. The two met their freshman year at the UI and instantly became friends.

“I just knew that Morgan had to be the one to direct it,” Muller said.

But sometimes, Miller said, there are drawbacks to working with one’s best friend.

“The disadvantages probably come more from us being friends than collaborators,” she said. “There are some things both of us find hilarious that no one else would understand, so we have to be conscious of that and try to take the play in a direction that would be funny for everyone.”

The women worked together on another one of Muller’s pieces, “Bear-ly Legal: A Love Story,” which was featured in last year’s Ten-Minute Play Festival.

At the festival, the playwright and director discovered their artistic chemistry and now are reaping in the benefits the Gallery Series has to offer.

“[The Gallery Series] gives students an opportunity to gain experience in the area of theater of their choice,” Miller said.

Miller’s stage manager, Kathleen Hains, said she could not agree more and being able to work with peers provides students with real-world experience.

“It’s a great way to work on your communication skills and get to know the people in your school and your community,” she said.

Hains jumped at the chance to work with the Muller/Miller team when she heard about the show from her adviser.

An M.F.A. stage-management student in the theater program, she said this show turned out to be a perfect fit for her, and she couldn’t ask for a better cast and crew.

Muller said they could not have found a better or a more diverse cast for the production. Ranging from a brand-new freshman to a graduate actor, she said, the audience would never be able to tell the age difference watching them act.

From the playwright’s perspective, the cast also helped shape the script, letting her know what was and wasn’t working in terms of comedy and dialogue.

After 15 or so rehearsals, Hains said, the entire cast is excited to have it all come together.

“This is not a play that’s trying to save the world or the relationships of the people watching it,” Miller said. “But the endorphins it gives you from laughing will make you feel better.”

Trouble: A Foot
When: 8 p.m. today through Saturday and 2 p.m. Feb. 3
Where: Theater Building Theater B
Admission: Free for UI students with valid IDs, $5 for the general public

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