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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

SE cast aims for dramatic comedy in God’s Favorite

Carla+Olivas%2C+Gary+Scruggs+and+Nate+Davis+go+over+their+lines+during+a+rehearsal.+The+play+will+run+March+1-3.%0D%0APhotos+by+David+Reid%2FThe+Collegian
Carla Olivas, Gary Scruggs and Nate Davis go over their lines during a rehearsal. The play will run March 1-3. Photos by David Reid/The Collegian
Morgan Hill and Garett Mote practice a scene from South’s upcoming production of God’s Favorite.
Photos by David Reid/The Collegian

The cast of God’s Favorite practice a scene for the upcoming play. The dramatic comedy features lighthearted laughter with a touch of misery.
Photos by David Reid/The Collegian

By Karen Gavis/se news editor

Lighthearted laughter does not usually accompany misery, but SE Campus drama students will create harmony between the two in their rendition of God’s Favorite March 1-3.

The Neil Simon comedy is based on the biblical story of Job.

When the drama department chose what the season would include, dramatic comedies were something they considered, said SE theater director Pert Durapau.

Carla Olivas, Gary Scruggs and Nate Davis go over their lines during a rehearsal. The play will run March 1-3.
Photos by David Reid/The Collegian

“We wanted our students to have that experience,” she said.

SE drama student Garett Mote plays the role of David Benjamin, an aloof and drunken prodigal son who resents the excess of wealth his father has accumulated. Mote said the role feels natural to him.

“It’s me, but there are a few differences,” he said. “Like, I don’t have three college degrees like David does.”

Nate Davis said he was auditioning for a smaller part when he landed the role of the wealthy but stricken Joe Benjamin (David’s father and the faux Job).

“I was, like, ‘oh, man!’” he said.

Davis grew up in church and was familiar with Job. He said his role is challenging but fun. Looking for keywords in sentences helps him to remember his numerous lines.

Davis said he was active in high school theater and played three parts in his first play, Christmas in the Land of Oz.

“I love this stuff, and I would actually give up basketball for this anytime,” he said. “This is something I want to do in the future whether I make it big or not.”

SE drama student Joseph Laws plays Sidney Lipton, a messenger sent to see if Joe will renounce God and end his suffering. Laws said God’s Favorite is one of the funniest plays he has ever read.

In the play, Laws speaks with a New York accent and maintains a high energy level. Laws said he can speak with a variety of accents including British, New York, Italian, Southern and a little bit of Russian.

“I can turn it on or off,” he said. “It is not hard anymore.”

Laws said he likes the amount of energy he puts into his character and taking caffeine before rehearsal helps with that.

“What helped today is I had lunch,” he said.

Joe’s wife, Rose, is played by Morgan Hill, a second-season SE drama student. Hill said God’s Favorite is a fun, upbeat show that hits home with family and faith.

“There are a lot of situations in life when you question why things happen, but some people use those to get stronger,” she said.

SE students Gary Scruggs Jr. and Carla Olivas play Ben and Sarah, the Benjamins’ wide-eyed, innocent twins.

Every actor is an artist with a unique ability to bring his or her character to life, Durapau said. Interpretive skills and technique are both important.

“It is up to the director to guide that interpretation,” she said.

Durapau said she thinks an amazing job of teaching can be done through directing, and her goal as a teacher is to develop students into intelligent artists. For her, directing is a thrill, and she believes the audience will be in for a treat.

“It [God’s Favorite] is just a big example of the brilliance of Neil Simon,” she said.

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