LAURINBURG — Over the past few weeks St. Andrews University’s resident theatre professor and several students from various classes and majors have been hard at work in a dark theatre rehearsing for the upcoming fall production of Robert Fulghum’s “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”
So what is this semester’s play really about?
“I was looking for something out of the ordinary for St. Andrews,” said Director Chris Wood. “When I came across this play, which is essentially a series of 1-acts, I felt it had a good theme but was a different type of production.”
Also involved in this production is Wood’s son Caleb, a sophomore at St. Andrews.
“This production includes over 18 different stories with many different characters,” Caleb said.
“The roles range from kindergartners, elders, and even a pig, among others. You don’t see the same character twice because the stories are separate. At the same time however, each story has a theme which ties into the overall plot and connects each character.”
Junior Emma Daly from Northern Ireland adds, “The play is about taking the audience back to a simpler time, to kindergarten, and questioning whether that ‘sandbox code of ethics’ can still apply to our lives today.”
While all the students in the acting class offered this semester were required to audition, the students who were cast in the production had some level of experience and interest in theatre, despite having some very differing majors.
“All my courses are bio related and I needed something that was not so imperial,” said Regina Drake-Parguey, a freshman biology major. “Something about theatre is just really human.”
For most students involved, doing the play is just a great fun hobby. But for some it’s a step towards their future careers.
“I have been active in theatre since a young age,” Caleb said. “My first production, I was a kid who was learning how lying was bad. Ever since then, I wanted to be involved more. I tagged along with my Dad to rehearsals and just took it all in. Now after many camps, productions, and experiences, the performing arts, theatre and film specifically, is where I’m aiming my career.”
This particular play has had its challenges for many of the students.
“There is no beginning, middle and end,” Daly said. “The format of having lots of different stories put together means that you, as an actor, need to be ready to be that person, in that moment, rather than a single character throughout the show.”
Kimberly Sauer, a psychology and therapeutic horsemanship major, has experienced a different challenge.
“The most challenging part of working in the play for me is remembering my cues before my lines,” said Sauer.
Even with these challenges, the actors agree that they are enjoying the experience as well.
“The thing I enjoy the most about working on a play are getting to know my fellow actors,” Daly said. “If rehearsals are fun and everyone enjoys themselves, I think that comes across in the final product.”
Sauer said, “My favorite part is that it is something different from my daily routine.”
For Drake-Parguey, the president of the Highland Players theatre club at St. Andrews, the knowledge shared is the best part of the experience.
“I like getting to work with other acts who have a lot more experience than I do,” she said. “Even the people my age have a considerable amount of experience and Chris has all these people come on who have years of experience. They do this for a living.”
In addition to the St. Andrews students involved in acting in the production, there are also students working behind the scenes, including two stage managers, two students working on sets and two working lights and sound.
Two community members are also taking part in the play to bring an additional balance to the production.
“We tell the stories with both humor and drama,” said Chris Wood. “There will be a plethora of emotions on opening night.”
“All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” runs Nov. 21 to Nov. 23 in the Morris Morgan Theatre at St. Andrews University. Shows begin at 7 p.m. nightly with an additional matinee at 2 p.m. on Nov. 23. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for seniors, students and children.
Maria Dalmasso works as a communications assistant for St. Andrews University.