MOORHEAD — Fall at Concordia means many things, the start of another semester, an influx of new and returning students, the symposium, homecoming and fall interim. Fall also means theatre, as Concordia puts on a fall play in early October every year.
This year, the department is performing “At the Wedding,” a comedy written by Bryna Turner. The play follows Carlo, a quirky and somewhat vulgar individual, on the night of her ex-girlfriend’s wedding.
“Carlo was invited to her ex’s wedding, her ex is a woman, and her ex is marrying a man. So all those things add up to it being the worst night of Carlo’s life and she’s just trying to get through it without burning the place down,” director David Wintersteen said.
Carlo is played by Beth Odden, a theatre art and English writing double major.
“(Carlo has this) take no shit attitude that doesn’t really vibe with how childish she can be sometimes. I find her delightfully awful. She is a very misbehaved hooligan,” Odden said.
The show features an array of queer characters, and much of the humor focuses on Carlo’s identity as a gay woman and her struggles with life as a whole.
“It is the silliest, gayest, saddest, quirkiest, little dark comedy that I’ve been involved in,” Odden said.
At the Wedding gives the audience snapshots of Carlo’s various interactions with other guests at the wedding, including Carly, Eli, Maria, Leigh, Victor and Eva, her ex-girlfriend.
“I adore him,” Tristin Qualey said about his character Eli. “He, I think, is very much like a himbo. There’s just a sense of goofy fun that comes with playing him that I just haven’t gotten to do before,”
Rehearsals for At the Wedding started in late Aug., and the cast has been rehearsing from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. every Sunday through Thursday night. They have also been working with a large variety of vibrant and complex set pieces and props, from Eva’s wedding cake to a lighted balcony. Some of these sets and props have required some minor alterations.
“So, they brought out this giant cake that was bigger than me,” first year student Jonah Overby said.
Overby plays Victor, a server at the wedding. “It was completely made out of wood and half inch thick around. It was 50 pounds, at least. No bueno. At the very end, I tried to do a twirl or something and I fell on my butt.”
At the Wedding is performing in the Lab Theatre at the Frances Frazier Comstock Theatre building on campus. The Lab Theatre is significantly smaller than the mainstage, but it offers the audience a unique perspective on the show.
The stage is a thrust stage, which places the audience on three different sides of the actors. Previous shows, like Love, Loss, and What I Wore, have been performed in this theater in past years.
“I’m used to the audience being here in front of me, but now the audience is on my side as well,” Miah Sandvik said. Sandvik plays Eva, Carlo’s ex-girlfriend.
“(I’m) needing to make gestures clear for them that will create an interesting stage picture regardless of where they’re seated. And I think overall the choice to have it in thrust is an act to get the audience feeling more involved in the wedding. Less that it’s a performance on a stage and more that it’s a place (the audience is) and the people that they’re observing (are) in the wild,” Sandvik said.
The show opens Thursday, Oct. 5, and will be performed through the 8. Show times are 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Concordia offers free admission to students, faculty, alumni, their families and future students.
“I love the show. I love the script. I think it’s really cleverly written and has a lot of layers to it,” said Sandvik. “If you’re seeing it for the first time, there’s a lot there for you. If you’re seeing it for the fifth time, there’s still a lot there for you.”