“Picnic” brings the 50s to McConnell Hall

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“Picnic” brings the 50s to McConnell Hall

Laurae Taylor and Skyler Lenhoff rehearsing for the play

Laurae Taylor and Skyler Lenhoff rehearsing for the play "Picnic" which premiered the evening of the 8th.

Mira Cummings

Laurae Taylor and Skyler Lenhoff rehearsing for the play "Picnic" which premiered the evening of the 8th.

Mira Cummings

Mira Cummings

Laurae Taylor and Skyler Lenhoff rehearsing for the play "Picnic" which premiered the evening of the 8th.

Wyatt Simmons, Staff Reporter

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The CWU Theatre department started the performance of “Picnic” on Nov. 9 in McConnell Hall. Written by William Inge in 1953, the play is a coming-of-age story that deals with topics of sexism and gender roles.  

Although the play is set in a different era, the importance of the message left a lasting impression on the cast and crew because of these topics are still relevant today.

Patrick Dizney, associate chair of theatre arts, talked about the aesthetic and time period the play originates from.

“It has its own beautiful style,” Dizney said. “I think the 50s were my favorite era for American screenwriting, so [Picnic] has its own lyricism but isn’t flashy.”

Mira Cummings
Laura Taylor as Madge, Deven Austin as Boomer and Lindsey Cassidy as Millie do a run through for their performance in “Picnic” which premiered Thursday evening.

Elements of the plot still appeal to young people, specifically women. “Parts of this play have to do with women empowerment,” said Lindsay Cassidy, who played Millie in the play.

“Women’s role [in society] in how the male gaze changes our perception of ourselves, and how it changes our lives,” said Emma Pope, who played the character of Flo.

A key point the crew wanted to make sure they achieved was making the audience feel like they were part of the time period. They used music and sound to create the nostalgic feeling of being in the 1950s.

Claire Martin, a member of the sound team, gave insight on what part sound played in the production. She said sound helped to create clues that made the play feel realistic and believable for the timeline.

Another aspect is the costume design of the play. Hailey Weiss, a theatre major who is in charge of wardrobe, talked about the process of getting the costumes ready.

“We have to make sure that this is fitting the actor’s idea and working close with them, but we also working close with the designer to meet in the middle,” she said.

Senior Skyler Lenhoff, who played Allen, talked about how different his role is compared to other roles.

“They put me in the play to help grow as an actor,” Lenhoff said. “[Allan] kinda goes insane at the end; it helps me know different layers as the character.”

Pope who plays Flo in the show said, “I’ve always played a motherly figure in the past, or the motherly friend, but not all moms are the same, so interesting learning the nuances of the character, and this is the largest role I’ve been in.”

The cast and crew said they hope the audience gets something out of watching the play.

“I hoped they are moved, I hope their hearts are stirred,” Dizney said.

There is hope the audience is brought to tears and is moved by this play, according to Weiss. “Picnic” continues to be an important and relevant play, even well in to the 21st century.

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“Picnic” brings the 50s to McConnell Hall