As Millersville’s production of Wendy Macleod’s witty dark comedy, “SIN,” approaches its opening night, a joyful energy is buzzing around the rehearsal room. With new set pieces and costumes, the actors are now digging even deeper into their characters in preparation for their opening night on April 20.
Curtis Hall plays Gerard, who represents the sin of pride. Unlike other characters in the play, Gerard has a limited amount of stage time and blocking. Nevertheless, Hall has made up for that in his energy and devotion for this character. Gerard, when the audience meets him, is dying of aids but is continuing to embrace himself. He intends to make the most of the time he has. Curtis Hall says that as an actor it is important to “always remembering why I am there in that scene and why my character has to be the way he is.” The character is very big and over the top, but Hall tries to bring an honesty and authenticity that is completely his own. Gerard in his moments onstage helps Avery come down to earth, and although this play takes place in the 1980s, the character of Gerard’s message of living your life to the fullest is a lesson that is still incredibly timey.
Much like Curtis Hall’s interpretation of pride, Jake Gould has found the deeper more human shades of his characters as well. Jake Gould plays Avery’s wrathful boss Jason. The character in the play constantly blows up at Avery and the other people in the workplace. Gould, as an actor, has learned that the character is wrathful because of his rough experiences in college. Remembering that has helped Jake make this destructive character more human and relatable to the audience. The actor has found that “doing the scene like it is the first time experiencing it adds a complete burst of energy that changes the whole dynamic of the moment.” Being in the moment for an actor is extremely vital to a performance’s success, and it is a skill actors harness more intensely as they learn about their characters.
In this production, Jonathan Bolds is taking on the role of the slothful Michael. Bolds is new to performing comedy, but he has enjoyed finding the truth within the character. The character of Michael comes off as very lazy, but in the last couple of weeks Jonathan as an actor has found that there is meaning behind this man. Body language has been an important part of the actor nailing this character. Unlike most lazy people, Bolds says that “Michael is very loud and brash, much of that expression has to be in the body language.” The character is an alcoholic, and through much of the play is in denial of his alcoholism, even his own laziness. Throughout, the main character, Avery, is trying to come down to earth, but Michael’s journey of being aware of his own slothfulness has been a challenge Bolds has enjoyed taking and fully exploring as an actor.
Along with finding new depths to their characters, the actors have also enjoyed getting to work with new set pieces that further develop the time and place of the piece. Curtis Proctor, who plays Avery’s envious co-worker, Fred, spends most of his time in a helicopter with Emily’s Avery. Even in the early days of working with the set, Proctor says that “he sits differently now with the set piece than he did before.” Having the set brings the movement of the play into perspective. Along with the set, the actors also have been trying out costumes. Although the costumes for this play are common place, even pieces like the sweat pants Nikki Schwartz wears for Avery’s gluttonous Helen or Jake Gould’s Jason can greatly inform the characters. According to Gould, “even knowing what the costumes will be helps to keep the final character in mind.” A costume and the set design greatly informs the environment of the piece. The performances will only get richer as more creative elements are introduced.
“SIN” is a play unlike any Millersville has seen this year. It is a fast paced and entertaining comedy that according to Gould, “Will feel like the shortest hour and a half play that audiences will see.” That is because they will be entertained by the characters and the situations. This is just such a universal play with characters that force us to look back at ourselves.
According to Bolds, “By the end of the play we see Avery take on each of the sins within herself.” This is a stark difference from her feeling in act one of being above sin, but it also speaks to a common trait we all have. Although we do not want to always admit it, we are all flawed, and we all make mistakes. This play literally brings our flaws as humans to the center. The play is very humorous and light, but as in the case of this piece, sometimes the best way to dissect our insecurities is through a little bit of laughter.
“SIN” plays at The Rafters Theatre from April 20-29. Students tickets can be bought at the SMC for $5 with their Millersville IDs and at the door, or online for $7. General admission is $10 for adults. Most performances start at 8 p.m. with the exception of the final performance on Sunday April 29, which is at 2 p.m. Do not miss this hysterically dark comedy.