It doesn’t have all that much to do with dinosaurs, and it certainly doesn’t deal with prehistoric issues. Stage Troupe’s latest play, “Pterodactyls,” debuts tonight and takes a look at the inner workings of a family faced with a serious hardship.
The play is a dark comedy that follows the demise of the Duncan family. Director Jessica Nemczuk, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, said the family goes through denial mechanisms upon learning that their son, who has returned home after five years, has AIDS.
“Through the news, the family comes together because truths are revealed,” Nemczuk said. “It’s a very funny play with a very depressing plot.”
Although Nemczuk has been involved in Stage Troupe since her freshman year, this is her first time directing.
“It was a really fun experience, but really hard,” she said. “I think everyone else had fun, though. The best part has been this week, seeing it all come together — the technical aspects, the actors — right there in front of me.”
Nemczuk proposed the play to the members of Stage Troupe earlier this year with Bobh McNamara, the assistant director and treasurer of the group. “The general members voted on three of the proposed plays,” Nemczuk said, and the members decided to include “Pterodactyls” in their repertoire.
Morgan Jennings, a College of Communication senior, is trying her hand at technical directing for the first time.
“It’s been interesting,” Jennings said of working on the technical aspects of the play. “It’s a heavy set, so we’ve been spending a lot of time on that.
“I like the topics it covers,” she said of the play’s content. “I think the actors are doing a great job with it.”
This is Stage Troupe’s second production this semester, following “James and the Giant Peach.” Following this week’s shows will be performances of Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” and “Richard III,” according to Stage Troupe President Ben Riggs.
Stage Troupe boasts 150 members, making it the third-largest student group on campus, Riggs said.
“We put out about 10 shows a year,” Riggs said. “We do everything ourselves. We do it for fun.”
Directors and the Stage Troupe executive board vote on which plays they will produce at the beginning of a semester, and casting is held the first week, Riggs said. The technical pool is split up a week later, and rehearsals begin shortly after.
“Directors put in the most time — about 30 hours a week,” Riggs said.
Their efforts pay off. Stage Troupe shows consistently sell out, according to Riggs.
Shows will be held in the Underground Theater in the Armory tonight and Friday at 8 p.m., as well as on Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the candy counter on the second floor of the George Sherman Union, costing $5 for members and $6 for non-members. No tickets will be sold at the door.
-Dan Atkinson contributed to this report.