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NU Theatre Dept. depicts a town like any other

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By Nicholas Nguyen, news correspondent

Playwright Will Eno, whose achievements include earning the Drama Desk Award and being a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama, is known for his works examining and poking fun at the facets of society. This week in the Studio Theatre, Director Jonathan Carr and Northeastern students will take on one of Eno’s earlier works, “Middletown.”

Like his other plays, “Middletown” explores characters’ pasts and forces them to reflect. The show exhibits what can best be described as people’s “mid-life crises.” Expectations of what life should be diverge radically from the characters’ realities.

Carr said one scene involving a man and a meteor displays this theme. A man excitedly finds what he thinks is a meteor. To his dismay, he discovers it is actually just an ordinary rock. However, he believes that there’s a miracle in that. Individuals are lucky to be alive on a place that has “birthdays and mountains and things of that sort!”

“The first time I ever read the play, I couldn’t stop thinking about how lonely it was,” said Carla Mirabal, a third-year theatre major. “I think that’s a lot of what this play is about — different people dealing with loneliness and their attempts to be a part of something, to be important.”

Carr said that he approached the play by making sure to bring a sense of surprise to every scene. Since the people of Middletown are experiencing events in the moment, the audience should feel like they are as well.

The actors have spent weeks preparing for the play. According to Eva Friedman, a fifth-year theatre major, they have been rehearsing five days a week for four hours each day since rehearsals started in October.

“Designers get attached to the project, bringing all of their brilliant ideas,” Friedman said. “We talk about the play, themes, ideas…all these things that are starting to percolate in our minds.”

Equally important to how characters mesh with each other in the plot, the actors themselves had to examine their own characters and how they could mesh with them. They had to ask themselves: How do I properly put myself in the shoes of my character?

“I thought about what I had in common with her. Like one experience she’s having is being in a new place all alone and feeling lonely and desperate for connection, which I think is something everyone’s felt,” said Helena Barth, a fifth-year psychology major. “But then there’s also things that she goes through in the play like having a baby, so for stuff like that I did a lot of research on the internet and talked to my mom.”

The final show will be on Sunday, Nov. 19 at the Studio Theatre. Tickets are $10 for senior citizens and $15 for general admission.

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