The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Jazz, alcohol don’t mix in NE Campus production

By Ashley Bradley/ne news editor

Side Man, a play written by Warren Leight, is an emotional and highly charged tale that NE Campus drama will tackle in its first production of the year.

The play covers the story of an only son named Clifford, an alcoholic mother named Terry and a jazz trumpet-playing father named Gene.

“This play is a love story in its own sense between the mother and the father,” said assistant director Jennifer Frances. “As it unfolds, a lot of the scenes are the retold story.”

The cast members during a recent rehearsal agreed that it is an intimate play. To strengthen the intensity, the audience will sit in chairs on the stage, rather than below it. The cast said the audience members will be so close, they can see not only  every facial expression but every bead of sweat coming off of it.

“I’m excited about being so close to the audience,” said leading man Wayne Floyd.

Floyd plays the role of Clifford and said it is the most diverse character he has ever played.

“It’s the most fun part I’ve ever had,” he said. “[The emotion] is something to work on. You have to learn from what you’ve read and from what you’ve learned.

“The way to make emotions real is by action.”

This is Floyd’s third time to work with director Steven Thomas, and he said they have all three been his favorite plays.

As actors joined the stage and started to work on their scenes, Thomas sat with script in hand and gave students instructions.

“Let the blocking reflect the scene,” he said. “Worry about pursuing your objective.”

As actors gathered on the stage, forgot lines and remembered them, Thomas kept pushing for magic.

“You have to drive the train and top each other,” he told two characters. “Drive the train. Play for keeps.”

South Campus student Matthew Ham plays a heroin addict who is a fellow musician of Gene’s.

“It’s very real,” he said. “You’re not going to see something that wouldn’t happen. It’s emotionally driven. Anyone that’s gone to college knows at least one of these characters, especially the musicians. To musicians, nothing else matters. They are the most selfish people alive.”

One of the most intense scenes in this play is one between Clifford and Gene, played by Fred Vertrees. After years of silence between the two, they finally reunite in a New York nightclub.

As this scene was rehearsed, the rest of the cast fell silent.

When it ended, Thomas commented on how heartbreaking the scene is.

Shanna Kight, who plays Terry, also felt drawn to the personalities shown.

“I fell in love with the characters in this play,” Kight said.

Throughout the play, Terry and Gene have a relationship that cast members say obviously needs help.

“They are almost a disease to each other,” Kight said, “but they can’t let go. It’s like they are latched on. It’s in the beginning where the real love and passion is.”

Side Man plays in the Northeast Playhouse at 8 p.m. Oct. 7-10 with an extra 2 p.m. showing Oct. 10.

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