After a fall term filled with bare stages and several one-acts in Studio Theater, Harbach Theater will open its doors Wednesday, Nov. 6 through Sunday, Nov. 10 for this term’s main stage production “Next Fall.”
The doors to Harbach will open at 7:30 p.m. introducing the audience to the play, written by Geoffrey Nauffts and directed by Assistant Professor of Theatre Jeff Grace.
The drama focuses on the relationship of a gay couple (sophomore Morgan Jellison and senior Neil Phelps) and their religious differences after one gets into an accident.
Grace chose the play as it portrayed a gay couple without the stereotypes that oftentimes permeate forms of entertainment. The play also explores many of the topics and themes covered in Grace’s “Gay and Lesbian Drama” class.
Alternating between the past and present in New York City, “Next Fall” utilizes the space of Harbach’s proscenium stage, allowing for the play to quickly switch between its various settings and for the audience to have a larger, window-like view of the entire stage.
Designed by Associate Professor of Theatre Craig Choma, the set features intricate passageways and doors that transform the space from a hospital to the main characters’ apartment in New York City to Central Park.
Unlike other main stage productions, where the best seats in the house were located in the middle section of the center aisle, the closer you are to the stage for this show, the better.
As the only production taking the Harbach stage this term, the cast and crew of “Next Fall” have been preparing since mid-September. Working with the set has proved very challenging as the transitions for the set changes must run as smoothly as the changes in the story.
According to Stage Manager and senior Jesse Mitchell, “some of the scenes go from really somber moments to much more upbeat moments and vice versa. If the transitions aren’t timed just right, the mood gets interrupted too soon.”
The cast and crew has also dealt with the impact of the play’s emotion and themes.
“It’s been pretty bad. Bad in a good way, I should say,” said junior John Bird, describing the emotional experience.
Assistant Stage Manager and freshman Kaylie Padgett describes the progression of the production as being “exciting and emotional.”
“I think it says something that we cried multiple times. I’m still crying,” Padgett said.