“Only You” Student production premieres Feb. 8

Emma Gray 

Editor

The comedy “Only You,” described as a fast paced, funny show by cast and crew, is showing at Parkland’s theatre Feb. 8–18.

The show, written by Timothy Mason, is Parkland’s 27th annual student production and is directed by Gennie Applebee. All of the cast and staff working on the production are students, except for one community member, Jarrod Finn, who plays the part of Bo.

“Only You” follows the lives of Leo and Miriam and their friends Heather, Eddie, and Bo as they embark on the journey of finding love and happiness. It’s an old comedy from the 1980s, with music from the ‘50s according to Applebee.

“It’s funny because I feel like it could be a musical, but it’s not,” Applebee said. “It’s just a play, but there is singing involved which makes it really fun…Because it’s comedy the actors, the cast, can actually have fun with it, like it doesn’t have to be serious.”

Applebee, who graduated from Parkland last spring after studying theatre, says she chose this show after finding it in a theatre in Chicago being sold for a very low price. She says she was drawn in partly because of the fact that it had singing parts that allow for the actors to “goof up” and be normal people singing instead of needing to be professional singers.

Though she decided to do this show last year and has been working on it on her own for a while, actually putting it together happened rather quickly. Auditions were held in December and rehearsals began in January. 

“Most of [the cast] have their lines down…and blocking is getting there. That’s what we’re working on [in] rehearsals now every evening,” she said. “Even though we had a short amount of time to rehearse, we’ve done a lot.”

The character Heather is played by Zoe Dunn, who is studying criminal justice. Dunn says that playing the character is fun because it is like playing herself in a way.

“[Heather] is the clueless friend who is kind of all over the place and she doesn’t really know what’s going on even though she thinks she knows,” Dunn said.

Heather is very “over the top” so Dunn says she has had to learn to make the part believable at the same time, though she enjoys the unpredictable yelling spouts she gets to perform through her character. The character is also involved in a love “pentagon” as Dunn describes.

Compared to Heather, Bo is more melancholy. He is a socially awkward new friend to Leo, who Finn says has a couple creepy moments but ultimately is able to find love. 

“The best way I can describe it is, [he’s] the Eeyore of the group,” community member Finn said. “He’s recently gone through a break up that was very hard for him and he’s not handling it well and it also manifests in a certain physical condition that I won’t talk about, people have to come to the show to see it…It’s him just trying to find friendship and companionship.”

The other male characters are also somewhat socially awkward but different from Bo. Finn says that Leo is a more dramatic character, while Eddie is a perfectionist and a player.

Outside of the work that has been put in by cast members, crew members have also worked hard to make this show happen.

“A lot of work goes into a theatre production that you don’t see behind the scenes,” Applebee said. “Like you come to a show and it’s like ‘wow,’ but we put a lot of hours into things like set design and lighting.”

Some of those many hours have been put in by the stage manager Melissa Goldman, who will be the student director of next year’s student production, “Come Blow Your Horn” by Neil Simon. Goldman is studying musical theatre performance and says a professor suggested she try stage managing.

“Right now we’re in the process of working scene by scene,’” Goldman said.

Numerous hours have also been put in by the student costume designer, Remy Saymiknha, who is studying costume design. Saymiknha says that working on this show has taught him how much time, work and stress go into making the show happen, though he is having fun with the process.

“We are making a few costumes, dresses, that I’m really excited about,” he said. “Right now we are making two dresses, one of them is for Zoe’s character, Heather. That is a ‘Raggedy Ann’ dress, like the doll…We’re also making a Cinderella one that is really complicated.”

“It’s a really funny show that everyone can probably relate to,” Saymiknha said.

The part of the show most cited as the favorite by cast, director, and crew interviewed was the last scene because of how the show comes together and finally makes sense.

The theatre that the play is in is the smaller black box theatre, which Applebee says allows for the audience to be closer to the actors and action. After the first show on Feb. 8 the audience has the chance to get even closer to the play during a talkback at which point audience members will be able to talk with the director, cast, and staff members. This opportunity is meant to allow the audience to “dive further into our productions” according to the theatre’s website.

Showings will be at 7:30 p.m. on Feb 8, 9, 10, 16, and 17. There will also be a matinee at 3 p.m. on Feb. 18. Tickets are $10 and are available online at theatre.parkland.edu under “Only You.”

A full list of cast members can also be found on the theatre’s website.