By Madison Petro
ESU’s Theatre Department takes us back in time for some history with its production of “Jackie & Me” this week, opening tonight at 7:30 p.m.
“Jackie & Me” follows the story of 10-year-old Joey Stoshack as he time-travels to Brooklyn in 1947. While there, he meets Jackie Robinson, the first African-American major league baseball player, and experiences life through an African-American’s point of view during a time of racial segregation.
Adapted by Stephen Dietz, the play is based on Dan Gutman’s award-winning novel of the same name.
“Comprised of quick scenes and a lot of comedic moments,” the play is a lot of fun for the cast and the crew, according to the production’s assistant director, senior Alex Misurella.
Director and theatre professor Stephanie Daventry French agrees and says she hopes the audience has as much fun watching the production as the cast and crew did putting it together.
“Jackie & Me” is not only about fun, though. It is a “comedy with a really serious message” on tolerance and acceptance, according to Travis Brewer, junior, who plays multiple roles throughout the production.
To carry out this message, the cast started by researching the historical characters and finding out why they have such a large impact on society today.
“I’ve done more research on this play than any other,” says Jamil Joseph, senior, referring to portraying a real person as opposed to a fictional character like in many other plays. Joseph plays Jackie Robinson in the production.
Misurella says he hopes to “do the show justice by bringing the historical characters live on stage.”
“Freshman are stepping up” to accomplish this, too, according to French, who applauds the talented freshman that are part of the production.
One freshman, Matthew Namik, who plays the lead role of Joey said ESU’s Theatre Department is “really different than high school and really good.”
Namik says that during rehearsals he feels “comfortable on stage” with the other actors and experiences a “quick feeling of being part of the family” in the department.
But, after all the research, rehearsals and preparations done by the cast and crew, there is still one crucial piece missing from the production.
“It’s not finished until we share it with an audience,” says French. She hopes that by watching the production, the audience will learn not only “about some of the other amazing and problematic people” in history, but also that “small acts of kindness can go a long way.”
According to Namik, the “most meaningful scenes” in “Jackie & Me” are the ones that send messages from multiple points of view and show how “experiences change the characters” throughout the production.
Joseph says he hopes the audience “can feel and connect and live through the experience on stage.”
Production times for ESU’s “Jackie & Me” are Oct. 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m.; Oct 17 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and Oct. 18 at 2 p.m. All performances will be in the Smith-McFarland Theatre at the Fine and Performing Arts Center.
Tickets cost $12 for general admission; $10 for senior citizens, faculty and staff with ID; $7 for students; and $5 for youth.
Advanced purchase of tickets are available online with credit card at esu.edu/theatretickets. Remaining tickets will be available at the box office starting one hour before the performances. The box office accepts cash and checks only.
For more information about the production, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (570) 422-3483, ext.4.
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