The Dining Room

All theatrical productions demand immense creativity, energy and dedication from the cast in order to convincingly represent their character on stage. James Hall, who will portray eight strikingly different roles in Union College’s production of The Dining Room, has embraced the challenge. Hall is admittedly in uncharted territory, having never before performed so many roles, but claims the joy of acting is worth the effort. “It really tests my ability as an actor,” claims the sophomore communications major, “but I love the stage.”

In The Dining Room, playwright A.R. Gurney examines family issues and events with humor and dignity. The play portrays multiple vignettes—mixing birthday and holiday celebrations with mundane moments of family breakfasts, remodeling and repair projects, arguments and off-hand conversations. Along the way, Gurney invites audience members to contemplate parent-child relations, marital harmony and fidelity, alcohol use and abuse, sibling loyalty, aging and other life matters both big and small. “It is definitely an emotional rollercoaster,” claims Hall, who feels it is a vast departure from last year’s comically boisterous production of Mike Mennard’s That’s What Makes Them Pirates.

In this funny and thought-provoking play, six actors present 57 characters in one room—the dining room. Each actor in the cast—Hall, Janna Buttrick, Pablo Colindres, Tori Hudgins, Stephen Scheffler and Dèsirèe Waterson—portrays several roles as one story gives way to the next. Hall, who plays the part of a six-year-old in one scene and an eighty-year-old immediately after, looks for personal experiences to make each character unique. He projected traits from his grandfather into one character, but still finds that “keeping up the energy level can be a challenge.”

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