UWEC Players perform first full-length, original production

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Janie Boschma

Fifteen-hundred photographs rain down on the Riverside Theatre stage to open “Candid,” the first full-length, original production put on by the UWEC Players.

The concept of the play originated with director Tyler Morris almost two years ago when he came across a photograph pressed into the pavement outside a gas station. The picture simply showed an elderly group of friends congregating. Morris said he’ll never know the exact meaning behind the photograph, but it sparked something in him.

“It pushed the exploration of what and why photos are taken and how we keep our memories,” he explained.

During the play’s development, senior CJ Krueger – who penned the script – said members of the cast met to share important memories with each other. He said the story fell into place from exploring the possibilities of returning to memories and stepping back into a photograph, so to speak.

With that, memory is a major theme of “Candid.” The six-person cast attempts to sort through the memories of the show’s protagonist, Nathan, played by first-time actor senior Justin Rudnick. It is their job to sort through the photographs and memories of their lives together and find out what they may have missed the first time.

Although this is Rudnick’s acting debut, he has had prior experience in Forensics. He mentioned how much he enjoyed interacting with the other characters on stage, because much of his Forensics work has been more independent. He also noted some differences between theater and Forensics.

“It’s fun to get the coaching to dive deeper into a character and figure out the motivation for something . why you say something the way you say it, why you move the way you move,” Rudnick said. “There’s so much exploration in theater that I wasn’t used to before.”

The UWEC Players have been a recognized student organization on campus for several years, and have an ever-evolving roster of members.

Morris said the UWEC Players act as a booster for the theatre department and they often share resources.

Krueger said in exchange for using the university’s space, the UWEC Players also help promote department shows, such as the pink flags that were placed on the campus mall during the production of “Bent” last spring.

Krueger also stressed the student involvement in “Candid,” saying “completely, from page to stage, it’s all student produced.”

Morris said he has never had the opportunity to direct an original play before. He enjoyed watching the evolution of the play.

“It’s been really great because it’s just one big discovery,” he said.

“This is our research, our development, our opportunity to practice our craft and put together something full scale,” Krueger added.

Because of the low-budget nature of “Candid,” Morris said the show is proof that theater can be done no matter what the budget.

Junior Victoria Wiser, who is also relatively new to acting, stars in “Candid” and previously helped stage manage “The Dispute,” a show put on last summer by the Players.

Wiser said she is personally very different from the character she plays, but has appreciated the character development that has taken place among all the actors in the show.

She said joining the Players is a great way to get involved in theatre because no previous experience is required and everyone is welcome.

Morris said putting on a full-length play can be time-consuming and difficult, but he “loves every minute of it.”

“I don’t know what I’d be doing with my time otherwise.”

“Candid” can be seen in the Riverside Theatre of Haas Fine Arts Center tomorrow and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Admission is $2 for freshmen, $5 for students, and $7 for the public. For more information, visit www.uwecplayers.com.

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