Redemption through art — Production of ‘Our Country’s Good’ debuts tonight

Brianna Corley

Arts and Living Editor

 

Tonight, inside the confines of Theater West, a story credited for providing the basis for theater will make its debut.

Based on a true story, “Our Country’s Good” follows the tale of the first English colony in Australia.

A colony of thieves comprised of convicts is no longer wanted by England, so the governor decides that the criminals should put on a play in order to rehabilitate the convicts for when they inevitably return as members of society.

“The original director of the production said for the play to succeed, you have to live the history,” Dr. Rick St. Peter, the director of “Our Country’s Good,” said.

St. Peter thinks this play is one of many detail-oriented productions that students have proven more than capable of tackling. He attests this to the theater department’s incredible talent.

This play acts not only as living history but as a love letter to theater.

Due to its historical nature, “Our Country’s Good” presents difficulties for student actors in a unique way that productions in the past have not. Technicalities such as dialect and movement act as a way to provide authenticity to their characters and emphasize that they were real people.

Shari Wilson, junior who will be portraying the roles of Black Cesar, The Aborigine and Captain Tench, notes the differences of playing a character who existed in real life.

“You read about them and you know about them,” Wilson said. “These people are so amazing, and you want to do justice to every single part of them.”

“Our Country’s Good” aims to provoke discomfort and thought, taking all the bad with the good in its portrayal of its real-life events. Through taking place in Theater West, Wilson hopes it will provide an intimate experience for its audience.

“It’s a daring and bold play, and I feel bold and daring after it,” Wilson said.

Kyle Munson, a junior playing both Governor Arthur and Philip John Wisehammer, is also excited for the unique opportunity that “Our Country’s Good” provides.

The small cast with all but one playing two characters each demands attention and quick changes.

Munson particularly notes how most characters being dually played are from opposite sides of the spectrum. This is evident in his own roles, one being the first governor Australia who has many recorded documents around his history and the other a convict with little information concerning his background.

Playing out the memory of those stories that aren’t told is something that Munson finds to be a rewarding aspect of the production.

“There are so many interesting people and interesting stories that we never get to hear,” Munson said. “I think any time we are able to find something and shine a light on people we’ve never gotten to know before is very important.”

Nightly performances will take place tonight through Saturday and Oct. 2 through 5 at 7:30 p.m. There will also be a matinée this Sunday at 2 p.m.

Adult tickets cost $15, children and seniors $12 and all student tickets are free with a valid student ID and current sticker.

 

 

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