Yale students will perform this weekend in the “FroShow,” an annual production put on entirely by first-year students. This year’s play is Melanie Marnich’s “Quake,” which tells the story of a girl looking for love. That might sound like a typical romance, but producer Amanda Thomas ’21 clarified that “it is in no respects a normal play,” affectionately calling it “absolutely ridiculous.”
The play is structured around Lucy, who interacts with various eccentric characters, none of whom remain onstage for more than 10 minutes or so. She meets an astrophysicist serial killer, a Southern beauty pageant judge and a self-interested intellectual, to name just a few.
Director Max Teirstein ’21 explained that this structure allows the audience to understand Lucy’s journey in a meaningful way.
“I think it’s important for a lot of people to experience life from the perspective of Lucy,” Tierstien said, alluding to the character’s experiences with sexual assault.
The production is designed to be simple so as to focus on Lucy. The set is minimalist, but the team has explored the use of lights and other visual effects to create worlds. Teirstein said one of the most memorable moments of the process was when the team used a lighting effect in a powerful scene. He described it as “seeing the stars for the first time.”
The cast and crew expressed excitement about the way the show has turned out, even though the process got off to a shaky start. Jesica Springer ’21 chose the play and was initially set to direct, but she left campus on medical leave soon after the process began. The Yale University Dramatic Association asked Teirstein, who had auditioned to act in the play, to replace her.
“One day, I get two emails,” Tierstien laughed. “One says ‘callbacks are tomorrow’ and one says ‘come direct the show.’”
Teirstein stepped up to the plate and has thoroughly enjoyed his first directing experience. He added that he believes there is a “misconception” that a director of a production “has all the vision,” saying instead that being a director is “a collaborative process.”
For many first years, the FroShow is their first experience with theater. Thomas, for example, had never produced before, but she described herself as “teetering in being interested in theater.” Because of her experience with “Quake,” she is definitely going to produce again. Thomas credited FroShow with getting more students involved in theater.
“It gives people who have never done a Yale show the chance to do a Yale show,” Thomas explained.
Aidan Swift ’21, who plays the both “Bryan” and “Man,” had a similar message.
“It’s nice to have this first-year space … because you never feel inadequate or inexperienced,” Swift said. “Lots of people are doing it for the time, too.”
The production will take place in the Yale Repertory Theater on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m.
Lindsay Daugherty | firstname.lastname@example.org