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Actors and audience collide

BY JENNIFER HOCH | MAY 15, 2014 5:00 AM

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In the comedic journey of Dreamwell Theater’s production of Becky’s New Car, the audience members are asked to buckle their seat belts for a bumpy yet scenic excursion. Directed by Brian Tanner, the play contains strong audience engagement and has been “rediscovered to cohesively maximize the humor.”

Performances opened on May 9 and will continue at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Unitarian Universalist Society, 10 S. Gilbert St.

Tanner said his favorite aspect of the show is getting to hear the audience’s reaction, a powerful thrill of live theater. He said it’s always fun to see what were once words on a page come to life on the stage.

“From the first read-through, I knew we were in good shape,” Tanner said. “Everyone settled into her or his character from the get-go and put us ahead of the game in terms of character development. I couldn’t wait to get people up and on their feet, fleshing out the script and exploring this creative and intelligent text.”

Spencer Loucks, who plays Becky’s son Chris, is a film actor, and he said the biggest challenge of the play is having to perform an entire show at once. While you can always reshoot a scene for a movie, once a play starts, there is no hitting the rewind button. He said whatever happens, happens, and while this performance aspect is a challenge, it also makes it quite exciting.

“It’s great when the audience gets into the play with you, and you both sort of feed off each other,” Loucks said. “It can be quite a symbiotic relationship.”

Dennis Lambing plays Becky’s husband Joe, an unappreciated spouse.  The complexities of the characters’ relationships with one another, he said, can cause their roles to change during the evening.

“People attending the show will expect to cry by the end,” Lambing said.  “If not … I’m not doing my job as an actor.”

Starring as Becky, Carole Martin portrays a vulnerable and harried housewife with whom the audience is asked to take a journey. She said the purpose of the play is to give the audience a great show, a couple of hours of escape, and laughter. The audience interaction component of the play, she said, initially caused apprehension, as it is rarely explored during performances, but now she considers it a challenge and a blessing.

“The cast came together from Day 1 with a mutual respect, work ethic, and friendliness that made rehearsals something to look forward to,” Martin said.  ”Once the crew got involved, it was clear that everyone was there for the same reason.”


THEATER
Becky’s New Car
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Where: Unitarian Universalist Society, 10 S. Gilbert
Admission: $10 students and seniors, $13 general public


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