DISCLOSURE: Maggie Trettin is involved in the University’s Theatre Department.
Sisters, cakes, storytellers, homes in forests, boats, sunshine, and one very grumpy badger all result in one extremely entertaining spring show as Pacific University’s Theatre Department debuts its latest production,This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing, or, affectionately called by its actors, This Girl.
A retelling of some typical fairy tale elements—plus some brand new character arcs—This Girl is a different flavor from its earlier semester counterparts. The story is centered around three triplet sisters, Albienne (Emily Smith), Beatrix (Taylor Hammers), and Carmen (Hayley Guay), surrounded by a large ensemble, playing multiple roles in all of their stories. The sisters experience a loss early in their lives, which sends them on their own paths, discovering the world and who they are. Expect to see actors climbing trees, brandishing swords, and even taking the show beyond the stage. Julia Peterson, stage manager, says “every time I watch it there’s something new to see, and I find it really fascinating because I know the show so well, but even I make new discoveries every run.”
The scenes are mainly focused on ensemble work, with everyone, including the sisters, acting as narrator. The actors move in a cohesive group on stage, lifting wagons from the ground and pulling lighthouses from the sky. Dawson Oliver, ensemble member, says “after it gets going, no one is ever really off stage…you’re literally building the world and creating the atmosphere. The whole tone of the play is kind of defined by that.”It’s captivating to watch the group shift and react to their surroundings, no doubt the work of excellent directing by Summer Olsson, who says, “I wanted it to be like a band of storytellers, who set up camp and decided to perform.”
This Girl is an incredible feat of story-telling, pairing an already witty and carefully crafted text with masterful delivery from the actors, leaving one completely enraptured in the story till the last scene ends and the curtain falls.
Opening night is Thursday, March 12 at 7:30pm on the main stage in Tom Miles Theater, followed by similar evening shows Friday, March 13 at 7:30pm and Saturday, March 14 at 7:30pm. It’s concluded with a matinee on Sunday, March 15 at 2:00pm. Tickets for students are free and tickets for the public are $5.