By Megan Pendagast
Sheila Callaghan’s Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake) tells a provoking and unusual tale of loss, family relationships, conflicting personalities and a self-destructive, personified apartment.
Crumble utilizes the diverse talents of theater performance and musical theater majors and will be presented in the Spitz Theater by the Theater Department from April 4-7. Chair of performing arts Dr. Ivan Fuller, who wrote and directed last year’s play Awake In Me, is directing the production.
“This is an edgy, contemporary, dark comedy about grief, murder, a troubled girl and a panicky mother,” Fuller said.
Crumble follows a manic 11-year-old girl named Janice, portrayed by freshman theater major Maeve Lynskey, who is mourning the untimely death of her father. The play takes place on Christmas one year after her tragic loss as she struggles to care for her mentally ill mother (junior theater major Serena Venditto) who suffers from anxiety and panic attacks and turns to obsessive baking as a method of coping with her circumstances.
Janice and her mother both reside in an increasingly run-down apartment that they cannot afford to repair and are comforted only by their infatuations with celebrities Justin Timberlake and Harrison Ford, respectively, both played by junior theater major Tom Garvin. With the support of Timberlake’s presence through dreams, Janice hatches a plan to end her family’s struggles. Meanwhile, their sentient apartment, played by freshman musical theater major Eric Dann, appears to have a plot of its own and is looking to forcibly evict its negligent occupants.
“I am the physical representation of the setting of the play,” Dann said.
According to Fuller, Callaghan is one of the current leading playwrights.
“All of her work is very unique, tackling subjects that we can all relate to, but in a way that’s fresh, inventive and challenging,” he said.
Venditto shares Fuller’s passion for Callaghan’s work and the inherent difficulties.
“Everyone on the project is so fully committed that I have no doubt the final result will be a moving work,” Venditto said. “I could not have asked for a more exciting play for my Rider main stage debut.”
According to Dann, the role of Janice is the backbone of the story and is very dynamic.
“The innocent but provocative nature of her role leaves room for some great moments,” Dann said. “It’s a journey of forgiveness and grieving. It’s a great show that will leave you both happy and sad, which as human beings, we enjoy delving into those feelings.”
Tickets for Crumble will be available for purchase at $20 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. To order tickets, call (609) 896-7775 or visit rider.edu/arts.
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Printed in the 3/29/13 edition.