Theater department pulls out big wigs for upcoming performance

Performers with the Oregon State University Theatre rehearse for the upcoming play The Learned Ladies
Performers with the Oregon State University Theatre rehearse for the upcoming play “The Learned Ladies”
Reid Myers

“The Learned Ladies,” Oregon State Theatre’s rendition of Molière’s French classic, premieres Thursday at the Memorial Union Ballroom at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are available for students with ID for $5 online or at the Patricia Valian Reser Center for the Creative Arts office. Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. on March 7-9 and March 15-16, with a runtime of under two hours. The final show will be held at 2 p.m. on March 17. On the 15th, a feature sign language interpretation will be available.

“As people leave, they’ll say, ‘Wow, they were great! Wow, they looked good! Wow, my side hurts!” said director Andrew Beck.

The story is an extravagant 17th-century romantic comedy. It follows the romance of two young people whose aristocratic families keep getting in the way of their marriage plans. Henriette, played by Zoey Mayhew, is the main character of the show who is at odds with the differing opinions on her love life.

Mayhew is a first-year theater arts major, making her debut in the university theater department as a lead in this performance. She joked that her character is “very sweet and very kind, but she also has her moments of sass and feistiness, which I think is also a lot like me.”

Mayhew said the level of professionality, in particular, stands out from her previous acting experiences.

“You get all of these actors who are so fun and so friendly, but it’s also that we’re here to work and we’re here to make a really good show,” Mayhew said.

In order to get into character, Beck had the cast members practice time period specific techniques. Beck said his goal was to give cast members as much preparation as possible for a professional production.

“We had to use ballet positions, like first and second position, to hold ourselves up and use great posture,” Mayhew said.

Student actor Dylan Danielson, who plays Ariste, agrees that Beck’s professionality is a common theme within the process.

“He makes it a point to try and make this as close to a professional environment as possible and I think that’s really helpful for both new and old actors alike,” Danielson said.

This is Danielson’s fifth acting performance at OSU in their third-year undergraduate career. Since 2021, Danielson has been creating meaningful connections within the theater department. They specifically appreciate the dynamic they have created with their colleague and co-star, Noah Fox, who plays Chrysale. Danielson said they are excited to display the comedic antics they’ve developed over the course of the six week process.

“I think college students will love this play, just because of the humor of it,” Danielson said.

Beck is looking forward to his fourth directed production at OSU, but not without paying dues to his team. He describes the work of the stage manager and assistant manager as invaluable.

Beck added that lead costume designer, DeMara Cabrera, is “brilliant,” and “the costumes are one of the coolest parts of the show.” Viewers can expect an over-the-top wardrobe, from the shoes to the wigs.

“Every single aspect of each costume has its own little flair to it that I think the audience is really going to love,” Mayhew said.

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