The Valdosta Daily Times
With opening curtain for Valdosta State University Theatre & Dance’s “Lonely, I’m Not” during the first week of September, director H. Duke Guthrie had his six-member cast rehearsing on the school’s move-in day.
Knowing he had a short window of rehearsal time, Guthrie held auditions last spring. The VSU student performers were cast in April.
They had several months to learn the lines from a truly new play. One that has some actors playing numerous characters in a series of vignettes set in contemporary New York and California.
Playwright Paul Weitz’s “Lonely, I’m Not” made its world premiere off-Broadway, less than 18 months ago, in May 2012.
Guthrie discovered the play through reviews, which were mixed, but he was attracted to the newness of the script. He liked the idea that young actors in a university theatre program would have, should have, the opportunity to perform in and work with new works.
“Exposure to unfamiliar literature is part of what a university theatre program should be providing,” Guthrie says via his director’s notes. “... University programming sometimes has a reputation for being a bit dusty or stale, so addressing a fairly classic boy-meets-girl story in a way that is easily recognizable to people who text and tweet regularly is a good thing.”
In addition to that romantic format, “Lonely, I’m Not” reflects Weitz’s cinematic sensibilities as a script writer for the screen. With plenty of adult situations and R-rated language, the show is for mature audiences and not for children.
With dozens of fast-paced scenes in a show that Guthrie laughingly describes as “vignette-y,” “Lonely, I’m Not” attempts to make cinematic cuts from scene to scene on a live stage. VSU Theate’s Ruth Brandvik has created an eye-catching black-and-white motif for the set and the stage in the Lab Theatre of VSU Fine Arts Building — a set which Guthrie suggests audiences must see in action to fully appreciate.
Audiences will get that opportunity tonight when “Lonely, I’m Not” opens and runs through the next week.
THE CAST: Matthew A. Tito, Matthew Hogan, Charlotte Grady, Che'la North, Kelsey South, Dennis R. May.
DIRECTION, PRODUCTION: H. Duke Guthrie, director; Ryan Ponsell, technical director; Pattie Angier, stage manager; Ruth Brandvik, scenic & projection design; Genna Kasun, lighting design; Esther Iverson, costume design.
VSU Theatre & Dance presents Paul Weitz's "Lonely, I'm Not."
When: 7:30 p.m. today through Saturday, Sept. 5-7; 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8; 7:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, Sept. 9-11.
Where: Lab Theatre, second floor, VSU Fine Arts Building, corner of Oak and Brookfield.
Reservations, more information: Call (229) 333-5973; or visit www.valdosta.edu/comarts