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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NE drama students direct critically acclaimed play

NE+students+Tanha+Ali+and+Andrew+Derasaugh+play+a+married+couple+in+The+Lover+directed+by+NE+student+Roxy+Astemborski.+This+is+one+of+two+one-act+plays+opening+Oct.+2+on+NE+Campus.+The+second+play+is+The+Dumb+Waiter+directed+by+NE+student+Brandon+Wimmer.+Photo+by+Jayci+Gillie%2FThe+Collegian
NE students Tanha Ali and Andrew Derasaugh play a married couple in The Lover directed by NE student Roxy Astemborski. This is one of two one-act plays opening Oct. 2 on NE Campus. The second play is The Dumb Waiter directed by NE student Brandon Wimmer. Photo by Jayci Gillie/The Collegian

By Cody Daniels/reporter

NE students Tanha Ali and Andrew Derasaugh play a married couple in The Lover directed by NE student Roxy Astemborski.  This is one of two one-act plays opening Oct. 2 on NE Campus. The second play is The Dumb Waiter directed by NE student Brandon Wimmer.  Photo by Jayci Gillie/The Collegian
NE students Tanha Ali and Andrew Derasaugh play a married couple in The Lover directed by NE student Roxy Astemborski. This is one of two one-act plays opening Oct. 2 on NE Campus. The second play is The Dumb Waiter directed by NE student Brandon Wimmer. Photo by Jayci Gillie/The Collegian

NE Campus is flashing back to one of the 20th century’s most successful playwrights with two student-directed plays in An Evening with Harold Pinter.

NE theater director Stephen Thomas, who is producing the campus’ first production of the semester, said the event is the first in eight years where NE students will direct the productions. Brandon Wimmer will direct The Dumb Waiter, and Roxy Astemborski will direct The Lover.

“I chose these two plays because they are perfect plays for my student directors to learn to direct and are the perfect vehicles to bring together actors with the director,” Thomas said. “They also fit the description of the theme of the night I wanted the audience members to walk away thinking about which is that life isn’t always what it seems.”

Pinter, a screenwriter, playwright, director and actor, wrote both of the plays early in his career. His playwriting spanned a 50-year time period ending with dozens of extremely popular works as well as a Nobel Prize.

The Dumb Waiter is set in an unknown underground basement in the ’60s where two assassins sit over a meal waiting for their next target and instructions. The play has only two actors in its entirety and was originally written for two men. However, Wimmer cast two women.

Ashley Koeneke, who plays Ben, said she thinks no one expects the short, innocent-looking blonde to be so outrageous in her role, but the confidence gained from the chemistry she developed with her partner allowed her to do so.

Candice Chapman plays the role of Gus and said she brings the wonder, playfulness and comedic relief demanded of the character in the play.  The Dumb Waiter will be the first speaking role for Koeneke and the first time performing key roles for both actresses in front of an audience. 

“Being two girls acting like men and being tomboyish brings a lot of comedy to the play,” Chapman said. “People will enjoy it. It’s kind of like our own take on Pinter’s play.”

Wimmer reflected on his first-time experience.

“Being one of the first student directors in NE Campus theater history feels like being the first one off the boat in Normandy in the movie Saving Private Ryan,” Wimmer said. “I thought it was going to be a very stressful experience, but the one thing I’ve been utmost confident in is my casting choice. I was told by a lot of people not to gender-bend, but they could carry the show by themselves and have very unique learning styles, which connect with my directing style perfectly.”

Wimmer said the play reflects the burdens of blind faith in everyday life. It’s more about what is not said rather than what is said.

“There are a lot of twists and turns in the play, and it starts when they find out they aren’t alone in the basement. That’s when one of them starts to question everything,” Wimmer said. “If you’re a fan of Abbott and Costello or Michael Bay action flicks, then you’ll like this because it’s like a mixture of both.”

The Lover, directed by Roxy Astemborski, is also a two-character, one-act play with a serious message conveyed with comedy in its dialogue. The Lover is about a married couple who tries to spice up their dull marriage by making things more exciting in the bedroom, specifically with role-play.

The play contrasts traditional marriage domesticity with sexual yearning. Andrew Derasaugh, a NE theater veteran, plays the husband while Tanha Ali, in her first speaking role, plays the wife.

Productions are free for all TCC students, faculty and staff. Tickets are $3 for non-TCC students and seniors and $6 for general admission. The productions will be in the NFAB theater and showtimes are 7 p.m. Oct. 2-5 with a 2 p.m. matinee Oct. 5.

For reservations or more information, call the box office at 817-515-6687. 

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