Happy Post-Halloween everyone! Hopefully, everyone had a great Halloween with great costumes and tons of fun. Just a reminder, Thanksgiving is coming up before the winter holidays so hold off for a while on the All I Want For Christmas Is You playlist. BUT that’s not what this blog is about. This weekend Pauper Players, the student-led musical theatre group, put on its fall show of In The Silence. This one was extra special because it was written by a current Furman Student. I also have a personal affiliation to the Pauper Players as I have performed in 4 full stage productions with them including, Hairspray! (ensemble), Legally Blonde (ensemble), Heathers (Kurt Kelly), and A Chorus Line (Richie Walters). Additionally, I have performed in 2 cabarets, which are just medley’s of songs from musicals typically with a theme. Now for In The Silence.
Here is a synopsis of the story:
“In the Silence focuses on the Montfords of Sharpesville, Georgia, the perfect family of the Baptist minister in town. The family is Joel Montford, the devoted minister, Lucille Montford, his doting wife, and their two sons, Henry and Sam. Henry is off fighting overseas in World War II. Sam’s best friend is Louise, and they spend every day together. Louise’s older brother, Lee Roy, is engaged to Clara, a spunky woman who is from a broken family. Her only relative left is her cousin, John, who just got home from the war.”
“This musical tells a beautiful story of what it was like to be gay in the US during WWII, the familial struggles that can arise from that, and the beauty in authenticity. “
The play was presented in a style different than usual. All of the seating was on stage for a “black box” theatre approach where the story feels deeply intimate and personal. Initially, I thought it would be really awkward being so close to the performance but it was a very enjoyable experience as you felt immersed in the story. In regards to the story, I feel like it was very touching and the songs were very heartfelt and emotionally charged which helped convey the emotional attachment each character had to the developing plotline. At the beginning of the performance, it was slightly difficult to keep up with who was who and who was related to who but eventually you get the hang of it. Throughout the show, there were many points where people were tearing up and emotional, which I think is a great sign that the actors were conveying enough emotion to entice an emotional reaction (I’m not a crier but it was sad). As someone who enjoys the lighthearted, dance number filled, comedy musicals, I enjoyed the humor sprinkled throughout. One last critique I would have is that the black box style also made it difficult to see what was happening from some angles where the characters would be facing the opposite direction, which facial expression is important to me because its a part of character expression. After leaving, I felt pleased with my choice to support the musical. Giving all my props to the writer Robert Cushing and the director Katie Jennison.
Hopefully, I’ll be able to come to you all and talk about the spring show Mamma Mia! which I plan to audition for. Until then, I hope you enjoyed reading about just a fraction of the arts we have to offer and how great these shows can be while being purely student-led.
Bye for now! This musical tells a beautiful story of what it was like to be gay in the US during WWII, the familial struggles that can arise from that, and the beauty in authenticity.
By: Jaylon Goodwin