Despite its adult themes and dark scenes, Asylum provided an enjoyable experience during its run last weekend. The play, written by Keith Aisner, was directed by senior theatre major, Dylan George. While the play itself was interesting to watch and made me think, the talk back after the show put many things in perspective and made me appreciate the actors’ work even more.
George said that production time was just three weeks; with a script clocking in at about two hours, that’s a daunting feat for the whole crew. Actors came back from winter break with lines memorized and ready to work. The department also rejected the play multiple times due to mature content and themes. Although I enjoyed the play while watching the events unfold, hearing about the work that went into the play made me think about it differently.
The play revolves around Gary, a man that has learned to control his dreams through lucid dreaming, but forgets about other parts of his life, like work and eating. The play works through Gary’s mental journey for self-understanding and offers a fresh look on mental health and how it affects Gary and his relationships with others.
Some other characters include Frank, Gary’s brother, their mother, Angela, a woman he meets during a mandatory drug testing from his work, God and Satan: all the usual characters. Although at the beginning of the play, there is distinction with what happens in real life and what Gary dreams, that line blurs throughout the play. This change allows actors like freshman Lane Schlicher, senior Jasmine Jones and sophomore Amanda Rogus to show off their acting chops with different character identities.
Rogus and Jones both shined in these areas as Jones’ character has completely different personalities in the real and dream world. Rogus’ character is identified as having schizophrenia and she jumps between different moods in a second. While I was startled sometimes, it just goes to show the dedication and effort that the students put into their roles.
The first theatre show of the spring semester, Asylum started off the season with a bold show and great performances.