Four Ohio Wesleyan University seniors will make audiences contemplate their existence and explode with laughter in one evening with their Department of Theatre & Dance capstone projects.
Nick Ehlers of Fort Wayne, Ind.; Megan Pinto of Raleigh, N.C.; and Kati Sweigard of North Olmsted, Ohio, will perform “No Exit,” Jean-Paul Sartre’s acclaimed existential drama about three souls trapped in hell.
Ellie Vizcaino of Wake Forest, N.C., along with fellow senior Claire Hackett of Chevy Chase, Md., and freshman Courtney Dunne of Cincinnati, will take the stage in James McLure’s “Laundry and Bourbon,” a gossipy comedy about three women in 1960s Texas.
Vizcaino said the contrast between the two productions promises an engaging evening of theatre.
“I know that one of my goals from the get-go was to entertain people for however many minutes they can forget about their problems and experience two worlds in one sitting,” she said.
Performances will be held at 8 p.m. March 21 and 22 in the Chappelear Drama Center Studio Theatre, 45 Rowland Ave., Delaware, on the Ohio Wesleyan campus. Both plays contain adult themes and language.
“No Exit” is an ideal production for Ehlers, Pinto, and Sweigard – all of whom have focused their theatre studies on acting – because it centers so strongly on the characters and their actions, Ehlers said.
“We could think of no better capstone to our experiences at OWU than a show that relies so heavily on its characters and, by extension, its actors,” he said.
Vizcaino, who transferred to Ohio Wesleyan as a junior, also knew she wanted to act for her capstone project, but she wanted to make audiences laugh, too. As such, she thinks “Laundry and Bourbon” is a fitting end to her time in theatre at Ohio Wesleyan.
“My experience at OWU had been full of fun, chaos, crazy characters, laughs, and struggles that only my friends could get me through, so this play is perfect for that,” she said.
Despite the characters’ depravity in “No Exit,” Ehlers said the play is at its heart about “a human yearning for connection.”
“Our hope is that people will reflect on what parts of themselves they see in the characters, whether that’s good or bad, and leave with maybe a better understanding of what makes our humanity tick, or at the least questions they can use to get them closer to that understanding,” he said.
To reserve tickets, call the Department of Theatre & Dance at (740) 368-3855 from 9 a.m. to noon or 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Tickets are free, but seating is limited, so reservations are strongly recommended.