Life as a student at Pacific University in the early 1960s was a very different life than for students today; the U.S. was in the middle of the Vietnam War, the Beatles and Elvis Presley were popular musicians and students mainly communicated using telephones and hand- written letters.
Although the technology and the wars may be different, the challenges that students in their collegiate years face still remain surprisingly similar. This is the underlying theme to senior, Kailea Saplan’s student written play, Dance Slow Decades.
“The play juxtaposes a year in the life of two Pacific University students,” said director Debbie Lamedman. “One student is from 1964 and one is from 2015.”
The student from 1964 is based on Pacific alumna, Cheron Mayhall ‘64. With the help of Archives specialist Eva Guggemos, the previous Assistant Director of Alumni Relations, Ginger Moshofsky and theater professor, Ellen Margolis, Saplan found Mayhall’s letters that she sent to her mother while she was a senior in college. Saplan wrote the play around these letters.
“It basically shows the parallels even though there is a 50-year difference between the students,” said Lamedman. “It shows the traditions of Pacific, the trials and tribulations of what a college student has to go through, particularly in senior year, where [they] are about to launch into life.”
Dance Slow Decades, according to Lamedman, will really resonate with students not only because the characters and the setting are from the Pacific community, but that the trials of being a student are also expressed in the play.
“You see the two female leads reaching out to their families or their moms especially when they are feeling sick or overwhelmed,” said Lamedman. “That speaks to every young adult going through a major transition in your life, especially when you think what am I going to do next year when I’m not in school anymore.”
Saplan not only looked at life on campus, but she brought in current events of each of the times to try and show the parallels between the two students.
There is a large multimedia aspect that will help to show the events.
“It’s not just two parallel universes, they collide,” said Lamedman. “It’s challenging, I’m not going to lie, to create an entire college campus on the stage, but we are doing the best we can and we are having fun doing it.
The play will run from Feb. 11 to Feb. 14 and will be in the Tom Miles Theatre.