Therese RaquinThe whole cast takes a bow at the end of the play. The play lasted about 2 and a half hours including the intermission. Photo by Melissa Landolfa.
Therese RaquinAlex Salup applies his makeup between acts as Camille’s ghost. The play Therese Raquin is about two lovers murdering Therese’s husband, who as a ghost turns them against each other. Photo by Melissa Landolfa.
Therese RaquinBridget helps with makeup and dress the actors and actresses. The play takes place during the 19th Century in France. Photo by Melissa Landolfa.
They’re cheaters, murderers and home wreckers by night and students by day.
FAU theatre students have been living a double life for the past two weeks.
The lights dimmed in the small and intimate Studio One Theatre in the Performing Arts building on Sunday, Oct. 7, at 1 p.m. Eight theatre and dance students put their real lives on hold and immersed themselves into the characters of the dark, dramatic and comical play, Therese Raquin by Neal Bell.
The play is based around the life of Therese Raquin, an orphan raised by her aunt Madame Raquin. She is then forced to marry her ill cousin Camille, who she took care of growing up. She spends the entire marriage unhappy and depressed trying to find herself. Camille then introduces his colleague Laurant to his mother, wife and friends.
Laurant charms them with his good looks and personality, and Therese soon falls in lust with him starting an affair. This false feeling of happiness convinces Therese that this is what she has been longing for. Therese then realizes she is no longer sure she wants to face the consequences.
Evan Williams,who plays Machuad a friend of Madame Raquin, spent time just before the show penciling in his beard and mustache while he talked about his feelings going into the last show of the play.
“We’re enjoying ourselves needless to say,” he said. “But we’re very, very tired.”
Williams mentioned the importance of keeping the integrity of the show in each performance. “We want to make sure the people who paid to see this show see the exact same show,” he said. “Or as good a show, as its been the other weekend and the other days.”
The male actors joked about the dramatic storyline of adultery and murder being similar to their personal lives. “I have had affairs with many women” Williams joked. But they took a more serious stand, saying they believe anyone can relate to the plot of the play.
“The show is all about each person trying to make their way, find what’s going to make them happy, and live the life that they think they are made to live,” Michael Empson, a graduate student who plays the home wrecker Laurant who steals Camille’s wife, said. “It’s to an extreme, but I think everyone can relate to the struggles these characters go through.”
The scenes of the play were filled with Therese Raquin’s curiosity, sadness, lust, regret and paranoia as she tries to find her purpose in life and what makes her happy and find a balance.
Katy Slaven, a first year graduate student who plays Therese, said unlike the character she doesn’t struggle with balancing her life. “I give myself wholly to each aspect of my life,” she said. “Whether its to my fiance or to school or immersing in the world of plays.”
Slaven embraces it when her school and personal life overlap with a play, because she tries to incorporate her everyday feelings, when appropriate, to her character. “We apply the same feelings we experience in life and the techniques we learn in class on stage,” she said. “Only here it’s a more free environment to really take risks.”
Yourhighness Morgan, a criminal justice senior, said he liked the play.“The language and sex scenes were provocative,” he said. “But it was cool.”
College of Arts and Letters Interim Dean Heather Coltman was in the audience on Sunday afternoon. “The department does an amazing job at finding a balance of plays that appeal to students and the local residents,” she said. “And they are great at casting students into different types of roles.”
Outside of acting, some of the students find time to keep up with other things — like football Sundays.
The male actors spent the 15 minute intermission catching up on the score of the Falcons game. Conner Hammond, who plays Oliver, checked the score on his smart phone and the dressing room conversation quickly turned into good old American football talk as if they hadn’t just left the stage.
After the show, everyone took their bows. Hammond and Alex Salup, who plays Camille, one of the lead roles, went straight into the dressing room, pulled out their shears, and began shaving away the facial hair of their characters.
“I’m a free man!” Hammond yelled running out the doors of the building, “I feel wonderful!”