Insecurities, Dreams Clash in Theatric 'Picnic'
William Inge’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Picnic” explores themes of family, community, teen angst and the tension between individual insecurities and the draw of outside influences to follow one’s dreams.
First performed on Broadway in 1953 starring Paul Newman, the powerful drama offers an impactful stage for theatre students to learn and grow.
Alma College Theatre presents “Picnic” at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, Friday, Oct. 12 and Saturday, Oct. 13 and 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14 in the Remick Heritage Center, Strosacker Theatre. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors 62 and up, and free for Alma College staff, students and youth 18 and under. Seating is reserved. Call (989) 463-7304 for ticket information.
"Picnic," Oct. 11-14
“This play is so rich with so much going on,” says Theatre Director Joe Jezewski, who last directed a student production of “Picnic” in 2001. “It is an ensemble play in which every character is important to the whole fabric of the story. It stresses the importance of working together as a cast.”
The play takes place on Labor Day in a small Kansas town in the yard shared by Flo Owens and Helen Potts. The early 1950s’ setting contributes to the storyline that explores the dynamics of young people and adults having the courage to act on their dreams without being intimidated by family and community.
“The early 1950s was a very different time than today, with a much slower pace,” says Jezewski. “It is a time when the outside world begins to emerge as an influence on the local community. It was during this time that the term ‘teenager’ came into use and the complex nature of teenage identity as it came to evolve in the ‘50s.”
Into this community comes the main character, Hal Carter, a young man with a facade that masks his own insecurities.
“Hal is a wonderful persona but filled with insecurities,” says Jezewski. “He is trying to fit in and find self worth. All the characters are affected by him.”
The cast of 11 includes both first-year students and more experienced juniors and seniors who have acted in past productions. Victor Shonk, assistant professor of theatre and the play’s scene and lighting designer, lends his hand in the creation of the set.
“In the early 1950s, people are starting to experience the influence of radio and television advertising that presents an idealistic kind of world, and the automobile also is becoming a part of young peoples’ lives,” says Jezewski. “Victor has created an outdoor billboard as a backdrop to illustrate how the families in this small community are being bombarded with the sense of what’s possible.”
Also assisting in the production are Natividad Salgado, assistant director; Tina Vivian, costume designer; Matt Crossman, production stage manager; and Samantha Arthur, dance choreography.
Posted: Wed, October 3rd, 2012 at 9:00AM