The Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln opens its spring semester season with a new play, “This Random World,” by Steven Dietz at 7:30 p.m. March 2-4, 7-11 and 2 p.m. March 12, in the Temple Building’s first floor Studio Theatre.
“This Random World,” directed by professor Paul Steger, is a heart-breaking comedy of missed connections asking the question “How often do we travel parallel paths through the world without noticing?”
Admission purchased in advance is recommended due to limited seating. Seating is general admission and in the round. The play is performed without intermission.
Tickets may be purchased through the Lied Center Ticket Office, 11 a.m. to 5: 30 p.m. Monday through Friday, or online.
Admission is $18 for the public, $16 for faculty, staff, and senior citizens, $12 students with ID.
Steger found the play while attending the Humana Festival for New American Plays in Louisville, Kentucky.
Steger describes the play as “quirky, warm, inviting, mysterious and evocative.” The play asks “What if everything is an accident?” and “What if the life beside our life was our choice? How different would it be?” according to Steger. He continues, “Steven Dietz subtitles the play ‘The Myth of Serendipity:’ luck that takes the form of finding valuable, pleasant or agreeable things not sought for.” Particularly in these days of mobile phones and other electronic devices, “more often in life, we so lose ourselves in what we’re doing that we don’t even acknowledge those around us.”
Undergraduate cast members:
Jorden Charley-Whatley plays Tim Ward, a writer and freelance web developer. His sister Beth Ward, played by Becca Hess, is the older of the two and is the ‘take care of business’ type who after her father died and her mother began to age had to step up and take responsibility. Tim’s high school girlfriend Claire, played by Candace Nelson, struggles with letting people into her life and describes herself as “a puzzle that’s just trying to find her missing piece.”
Michelle Ingle plays Bernadette, a registered nurse who provided home health care and personal assistance to Elizabeth McHenry Ward, affectionately known as ‘Scottie.’ Kate Schini plays Rhonda, Bernadette’s younger sister who works at Arbor View Memory Gardens, a funeral home. Hunter Mruz plays Gary who is carefree and a bit of a player.
Undergraduate Trey Martinez is the assistant director.
Actors’ equity association cast member:
Professor Virginia Smith plays Elizabeth McHenry Ward, or ‘Scottie.’ Professor Smith is a member of two professional actor’s unions: Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA. She has done numerous commercials, industrial films, and several feature films, including Home Alone, Teachers, The Naked Face and Almost Normal. Professor Smith is the Head of the undergraduate directing/management emphasis and the graduate Directing for Stage and Screen program. She was artistic director for Nebraska Repertory Theatre for ten seasons (2005 – 2014).
The design team includes: Lisa Haldeman, properties, graduate student; Shannon Hanson, stage manager, undergraduate student; Dani Mader, technical director, undergraduate student; Jaime Mancuso, lighting, graduate student; Heather Striebel, costumes, graduate student; and Jessica Thompson, lighting, graduate student.