By Declan Gibson
Company, a conceptual twister performed by PSC written by Stephen Sondheim based on a book by George Furth, shocks theatre fans from October 14-16 and 21-23.
While a typical play consists of a linear plot line, PSC’s Theatre Department has different plans this semester. Company is a conceptual play and has no ties to time, permanence, or even order. It is a collection rather than a series of events and the end of the play is not necessarily the end of the story.
“The play isn’t about a hero and villain… it’s about one person dealing with the pressures society puts on people…” Dr. Whatley, director of Company, says, “it is based around examining an idea, rather than telling a story with a clear beginning, middle, and end. ”
Kathan Brannon, a PSC student and the previous male romantic lead of Bright Star and Spitfire Grill, plays Robert, the main character of Company. Unlike some of his other roles, Brannon says, “Bobby is a very unromantic lead… he doesn’t really show much interest… as funny as it is to say unromantic lead… that is true.”
The entirety of the play is based around Robert’s friends being married while Robert himself is not. Robert’s friends continue to remind Robert of this fact, although he appears not to require any reminding. Despite multiple attempts throughout the course of the play, Robert cannot seem to get married.
While many believe the goal of Company is to illustrate how remaining unmarried is okay, Lendsey Von Krueger, a PSC student who plays Susan, has a different perspective. Von Krueger has acted as two other characters in previous performances of Company, now acting as her third.
Highlighting the way in which Company can be interpreted in many alternative ways, Von Krueger says, “For me it’s like, there’s a lot… just the different ways in which you can be married and it’s okay.”
The play runs two and a half hours. Company includes scenes with both traditional acting and musical numbers. During some of the musical numbers, the characters of the play come down to the audience, even interacting at one point. Dancing appears in a variety of genres throughout the play, both during and outside of musical musical numbers.
To match the conceptual basis of the play, the sets have been designed with a high degree of abstraction. Kismet Dunkerley, who plays Amy in the production, says, “The set is all pretty abstract… our furniture does not look like furniture.”
Company discusses human emotions and interactions in an honest and mature fashion while leaving the conclusion up to the audience, thanks to its conceptual nature. “I chose [Company] because of its richness in human portrayal…” Dr. Whatley says, “It will make [the audience] laugh, it will make them cry, it will become a part of them.”