As the semester winds down, students on Rider’s campuses will return home to summer jobs while others will begin new careers. So, there seems no better time than now to see a play about the everyday struggle of the working class.
Working is already creating a lot of buzz from both students and cast because of how well they relate to the concept of the play.
“All the characters in the musical are real people who shared their life stories with an author,” said Elizabeth Fine, a senior fine arts major. “They all are working-class Americans dealing with things like traffic jams, mean bosses and monotonous jobs.”
According to director Michael Hollinshead, a junior fine arts major, the show will make audience members “see the world a little differently and also appreciate people more.”
“This show is especially interesting from a college perspective because it is about the life that we are all going to be entering very soon,” he said. “They discuss their hopes, dreams and regrets in life. It’s very much a song to the unsung heroes of America.”
Having never directed a production on his own before, Hollinshead said that the selection process for finding a script was very personal.
“There is a lot of talent in the Fine Arts Department that is rarely utilized, so I wanted to direct a show in which many people are spotlighted instead of one where one or two main characters are on stage for the whole show,” he said.
Working is the first time in quite a while that Alpha Psi Omega has produced a show in the Yvonne Theater, and the cast is eager to work on the larger stage.
Members of Alpha Psi Omega had been preparing for their auditions for Working since winter break. Each audition consisted of a one- to two-minute monologue and a song from the play.
“Audition packets were e-mailed to Alpha Psi members and we were told what to prepare for the audition,” said Daniel Viola, a freshman elementary education major. “In the packet were character descriptions including the vocal range required of that role.”
In addition to preparing for their roles in Working, many cast members have also been busy working on other productions, which has made the rehearsal process a little hectic.
“It has been so scattered because there are just so many other productions going on this semester, but the cast is really pulling it together,” said Maria Panvini, a senior fine arts major.
“[We have] a great production staff,” said Fine, who plays a receptionist named Sharon. “They are all really dedicated and hard working. As a cast member it feels great to be a part of such a hard-working cast.”
Since Hollinshead is a student at Rider, he is directing classmates and friends.
“It is very challenging to direct your peers and be an authority figure to your friends,” said Hollinshead, who was the assistant director for The Heidi Chronicles. “For the most part, though, people understand that during rehearsals you can’t be their friend, otherwise the show would fall into chaos.”
The cast appreciates the hard work that Hollinshead has put into the production. The actors are anticipating the days that they get to perform the production for the Rider community.
“I feel this is a down-to-earth show,” said Fine. “It is not confusing and everyone will relate to at least one character or two.”
Working will be showing 8 p.m. on Friday, May 2 and May 3 in the Yvonne Theater.