On Friday, Oct. 18 and again on Saturday, Oct. 19, performances of “Check Please” by Jonathan Rand and “The Girl in the Diner” by senior Ivan Keta will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Though the plays share a similar setting — food venues — and are both bare stage productions stocked with some laughs, the similarities may run out there.
“I was afraid that people would expect them to be similar, because ‘Check Please’ is a really light comedy and ‘The Girl in the Diner’ starts out as a comedy but then it gets darker and I didn’t want people to be freaked out by that or to not interpret it right because they’re expecting a comedy,” said junior Becky Gonshak, director of the latter play.
“The Girl” centers around two actors, who have three different conversations, all taking place in the diner and all of which center around the mysterious girl they see there, whom the main characters allege they met one night.
With a bare stage set and a largely stationary plot, Gonshak emphasized the importance of body language and movement when working with her actors.
“It’s not heavy on set or lighting. It’s really just about the two actors, their characters and their relationship with each other,” she said.
In the play, which Gonshak read during Playwrights’ Workshop with Keta last term, the two main characters were written — and almost cast — as males but she went with two women in the end.
She explained that “you never really meet the girl in the diner, so it’s more the two [characters] talking about her who reflect their own desires and personalities onto her.”
Gonshak decided upon two female actors to gain “a woman’s perspective on a man’s perspective of a woman.”
“Check Please,” meanwhile, takes a lighter tone.
Director senior Hannah Black assisted directed the play in high school and wanted to direct something in Studio Theater this year.
“I thought it would be a good show for bare stage because I’m familiar with it…and you really just need a table and chairs,” she said.
The play chronicles the dating foibles of two individuals, originally unknown to one another, who go on a slew of crazy blind dates because they are tired of having to meet people the old-fashioned way. These dates, as is often the case, get progressively worse.
Black offered for example how “Girl goes out with a guy who’s really overly romantic and suave [and] Guy goes on a date with a kleptomaniac.”
She felt that many of the shows at Knox are “just really serious, and, I don’t know, some kind of metaphysical drama that makes you question life and I just wanted to do something that’s kind of funny and relatable — because who hasn’t been on a terrible date?”
Working with her cast of six, which includes the actors playing Guy and Girl and two men and two women who each play three different “bad dates,” has been “worthwhile.”