By Brendan Cross
For The Diamondback
Dozens of audience members gathered Thursday for a student rendition of the play “The Late Wedding” in Kogod Theatre at The Clarice Performing Arts Center.
“The Late Wedding”— written by Christopher Chen and inspired by the works of Italian writer Italo Calvino — examines marriage’s fading passion through a series of small stories and scenes. Thursday’s performance, presented by the University of Maryland’s theatre, dance and performance studies college, drew the largest audience of the year in its fifth showing at this university, according to sophomore dance and theatre major Mars Burggraf.
Burggraf, the movement captain of the show, missed the first few showings of the play due to a foot injury. But when Burggraf returned to the stage, they highlighted how the audience made this performance especially memorable.
“It feels so nice being able to do the show, especially after I was not able to for the first few times,” they said. “This is the biggest crowd that we have had so far.”
Due to the larger audience, several comedic lines also garnered more engagement than in the past, they said.
“I have never gotten that big of a reaction on that [joke during play] line,” Burggraf said, “I think I broke character. I started smiling on stage. It was just so much fun.”
Other performers emphasized how the show’s uniqueness stood out in comparison to other performances.
Nelson Chen, a junior theatre major, served as the play’s narrator and played a few other minor roles. Chen enjoyed the play’s minimalist design.
The actors performed most of the prop movement and scene setting live. As a result, very few props were used, Chen said.
While the play drew praise from several audience members, some were overwhelmed by its complexity.
Taimur Raja, a freshman enrolled in letters and sciences, left the play with more questions than answers. The play lacked a clear, overarching message, he said.
“I was identifying some common themes, but there was no ‘aha…that is definitely what it’s about,’” Raja said.
Other audience members took away a clearer message.
Adam Hawley, a sophomore theatre major, felt the play had its fair share of heartfelt moments, contributing to its important lesson.
“One of the messages is to cherish what you have and the relationships that you build,” Hawley said, “Inevitably in the end a lot of those relationships fall apart.”
After five showings of “The Late Wedding,” actor Ryan Nock, a senior theatre and history major, thanked every member of the production team, ranging from director Kathryn Chase Bryer to the deck crew, for putting together memorable performances.
“What I love most about theatre is that it is such a collaborative experience in a way that no other art form truly captures,” Nock said, “Each and every person puts their heart and soul into the work and the final product is the result of that.”