UI's Theatre explores infomercials


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The color gray currently dominates Theatre B in the University of Iowa Theatre Building. Gray cabinets, gray chairs, a gray table, and a gray couch cover the stage, with just one region of color: “infomercial world,” where viewers are beckoned to buy the latest thing.

This set will house the UI Theatre Gallery Series production Order Now, which will open at 8 p.m. today.

“The gray in the set shows the gray areas in Jack’s life,” said director Lesley Geffinger. Geffinger is a third-year M.F.A. ascting student. 

Order Now depicts the life of Jack Manning, a man who recently returned from serving in SEAL Team Six. After being discharged, he moves in with his sister and her girlfriend and starts to struggle with insomnia. Through becoming insomniac, be beings watching infomercials throughout his sleepless nights.

“My character serves as the comedic relief in the show,” senior Megan Henry said, who is playing Infomercial Girl. “She serves as the influence of media on our lives.”

“The process has been wonderful,” said playwright Theresa Giacopasi about watching her play come to life onstage. “The process has been one of gratitude for me.”

She is a UI M.F.A. student who received a B.F.A. from New York University.

Geffinger said she feels her collaboration with Giacopasi has been successful.

“She’s 100 percent given me the reins for direction; however, she’s also been a huge support,” Geffinger said. “Theresa clearly loves this play, and she clearly has a piece of her heart in this play, and she gave me a piece of her heart to work with.”

Following Giacopasi’s hands-off example, Geffinger has offered her actors a free, safe place to play with their characters.

“As an actor, when me and my primary partner in the show got the material on its feet, the characters came to life on their own,” Henry said. “To find the character we followed the impulses and the humor that Theresa has written into the script and we just saw where that led.”

Geffinger and Giacopasi say they hope the audience will react positively to the show.

“I hope the audience laughs and laughs and laughs at the infomercials,” Giacopasi said. “Or, baring that, I hope they clap at the end.”

“I hope that they’ll love it,” Geffinger added.

As for the experience of working with the cast, Geffinger said they’ve acted as one since the beginning.

“Since Day 1, I’ve called us Team Order Now,” Geffinger said. “We’re a team, we’re one. Jack is from the Navy SEALS — they’re a team, they act as one. That’s what we do.”

Order Now
When: 8 p.m. today through Saturday, 2 p.m. Oct. 19
Where: Theater Building Theater B
Admission: Free for students, $5 for public

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