By Richard Mactough
Students from the Theatre Department adapted excerpts of “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls into mini scenes during an event named “Doing the Skedaddle: Performances from The Glass Castle,” in Beers Lecture Hall on Oct. 25.
Over 60 people attended the event inspired by the memoir selected as this year’s “One Book, One Campus” program. The book touches on contemporary issues such as poverty. Dr. Stephanie French lead the last event about the book before Walls attends campus tonight.
Some of the performances were done off book and others were not.
“The students will present five different pieces. Each of the pieces reaches different discussion questions,” said French.
French showed a map of the Walls family’s travels to various places across the country.
“They had to keep doing the skedaddle, moving out of town because of various things,” said French.
Each performance lasted around 2 to 4 minutes. “Christmas Star” was adapted by two students.
Deijah Falkner played Jeannette in the first performance, and Josh Weidenbaum played the dad, also known as Rex Walls. The scene was adapted from pages 39 – 41 from the book.
The scene summarized from the book was about Santa Claus not being real. Jeannette (Falkner) explains her parents were not able to afford Christmas presents, so they decided not to celebrate it as Santa being real.
In the desert, Dad (Weidenbaum) took Jeannette out at night to look up at the stars. Jeannette offered her father the blanket, but refused the offer because the cold didn’t bother him.
Weindebaum in his role as dad said, “See that? That’s Polaris, the north star. That’s how sailors navigated for hundreds of years.”
Like the book, he offered his daughter any star she wanted as a Christmas present. She picked Venus the planet. The dad explained it wasn’t a star, but let her have it since it was Christmas. The discussion topic for this scene was finding wonder in the ordinary.
Other scenes included “The Ring” directed by Sam Kashefska from pages 83 – 86. It discussed the issue of nonconsensual sexual contact. Kaitlyn Torres narrated older Jeannette reminiscing on a memory of a younger boy inappropriately touching her as a child.
Performances of “Do You Love Me?” and “Escape Plan” focused on domestic violence.
Cherval Royster directed and adapted “Gutted Oz” starting on page 228. Royster played Jeannette’s character when she was upset with her dad (Tamir Cosuins-Ali).
Joined with the oldest sister Lori, played by Angelica Ramirez, the siblings were upset their father stole their money from their piggy bank. In the book, the piggy bank contains money financing Lori’s trip to New York.
Royster ended the performance as Jeannette, promising Lori she will find a way to get her trip financed. Students were divided into groups, and had the opportunity to discuss different topics.
Walls attends campus tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Abeloff Center for the Performing Arts. The author will hold a presentation and sign books. Tickets are available for students at the SAA ticket sales counter on the third floor of the University Center. Guests can purchase their tickets for $30 online.
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