BY DAVID SCARISBRICK | The Daily Tar Heel
With four actors, four chairs and a keyboard, Company Carolina presents what could be considered the “Inception” of theatrical performances.
Tonight, Company Carolina opens its rendition of “[title of show]” — which originally premiered in the New York Musical Theater Festival.
The show follows four nobodies living in New York who try to write a musical for the New York Musical Theatre Festival about four nobodies in New York trying to write a musical for the New York Musical Theatre Festival.
“It’s very metatheatrical,” said Clare Shaffer, the student director.
Shaffer has been simultaneously directing “[title of show]” and “The Rocky Horror Show” since early in the summer.
She said she is excited most by the dynamic of the “[title of show]” cast.
“This show is all about relationships — I want the audience to be drawn in by the characters,” Shaffer said.
“Since auditions I knew I had the perfect cast. Their natural dynamic as people is more than I could have asked for.”
Bryce Edwards, a freshman and the assistant director, said he was struck by the actors’ cohesion from the beginning of the creative process.
“They were their characters before rehearsal even began,” Edwards said.
“It doesn’t feel like you’re watching a written musical. It feels like you’re watching four friends goofing around on stage. They’re weird and funny, and they remind you of your friends back home. They’re real.”
Blayne Telling, who portrays Susan in the show, said she felt the authenticity of the performance’s characters.
“It feels like you could walk up to these characters on the street and have a conversation with them,” Telling said.
“The process of putting so much time and energy into any sort of project — not just a musical — is universal.”
The performance features multiple obscure Broadway references, but Jake Springfield, who plays Jeff, said audience members do not need to be theater buffs to appreciate the show.
“Even if you haven’t been in theater before, you will have had these friends. Every group of friends has inside jokes,” Springfield said.
Edwards said the show encompasses the full spectrum of human emotion.
“There are moments that will make you think, and then there are moments that will make you get really nostalgic and tear up,” Edwards said.
“You’ll feel uncomfortable — in a good way — and there will be a lot of moments that will make you laugh.”
Shaffer said she hopes that the audience can have fun with the wild humor of the performance — and still come away with a new appreciation for friendships.
“This show has everything: half-naked guys and girl-on-girl action,” Shaffer said.
“The audience needs to embrace the quirkiness. You can’t stop to think so much; you just have to let it wash over you.”
Reviews, previews, and other coverage of Shaffer shows.