LSC serves “Dinner” at Twilight


Gianna Fregosi

Jake Mead, Crenshaw Lindholm, Annie Stinehour

Editor’s Note: Emma is an Electronic Journalism Arts student at Lyndon State College. This article is part of a collaboration with Basement Medicine to better represent our unified community.

The Lyndon State Twilight Players are in full swing with preparations for their fall production of “The Man Who Came to Dinner.”

The show follows Sheridan Whiteside, a pompous and famous radio personality who’s touring the country. While on tour he makes his way to Ohio, where he accepts an invitation to a dinner party. While attending, Whiteside takes a fall and injures himself, causing him to take space in the family’s home while he recovers from this injury which results in chaos within the home.

Emma Charrow, who plays Lorraine Sheldon, describes the chaos: “All these people are sending him gifts; he gets penguins, a mummy case, all these things are being sent, and all these people show up.”
Along with all these gifts, there are the people within the town who show up: a doctor who wants him to read his book and a newspaper man who has a play. “There’s all these people coming out of the woodwork who want to talk to him and want to be around him,” Charrow says.

Crenshaw Lindholm, the president of the Twilight Players and cast member of the show says, “Whiteside causes all this chaos in this family. And this story is about him getting better and how all these people connect into his life.”

Director Gianna Fregosi says this play is classic Kaufman and Hart. The play was originally written and inspired by Alexander Woollcott, a dear friend of the play writers. “I feel like Kaufman and Hart plays tend to celebrate the individual,” she says. “A lot of the characters from the show are inspired by real life people.”

Fregosi says it’s a funny show that has a caddy quality to it. “I surprised a lot of my actors when we did the read through,” she says. “It’s a lot of innuendo and a lot of side comments that you don’t realize at first quite what they’re saying. Once you realize it, you’re like, ‘Oh my.’”

The process for picking this show started last spring while that semester’s show was still going on. Lindholm says shows are suggested throughout the year, but at the end of the year meeting the final play gets picked. “We get a brief synopsis of the play and the characters and then we vote on it, and ‘The Man Who Came to Dinner’ won,” says Lindholm.

The audition process, as Crenshaw says, is pretty simple. For two days at the beginning of the fall semester, everyone gets together into groups and does some cold reads before getting on stage to act out their desired parts. This year the cast is made up of about 20 people.

“There’s about three leads that are on stage all the time and everybody else has smaller roles, but all the roles are so important,” says Crenshaw.

Jake Mead is playing the lead role of Whiteside. He says he was excited when he found out he got the role: “I’m thrilled to have been given this opportunity. Whiteside feels like the perfect character for me to take center stage with.”

Mead says he is similar to his character in many ways: “He laughs at his own jokes, he is extremely grumpy, very creative with his insults, and he sings to himself when he’s happy.” Mead says as much as he is excited to have been casted he is nervous to take on such a large role. “It’s a lot of work and a lot to memorize.” But he has high hopes to make the directors who cast him and his fellow cast mates proud.
As for rehearsals and preparation, everything is going smoothly. Charrow says, “It’s very quick in the first semester when we do a show, but rehearsals are going really well.”

The week before Lyndon State’s fall break, the cast did their first week off book. Charrow says being off book is always a struggle at first, but as time goes by everyone becomes more in the moment and gets used to not having a script in hand.

“They know the show, so now we are going to be in the last few weeks fine tuning, polishing, and perfecting,” says Fregosi.

Props and costumes play a large role in this show. Fregosi says every show is different and for the past eight years they’ve been building up the resources and costume closet. “Like most Kaufman and Hart shows, there’s an interesting prop list,” she says. Among that list is a mummy case, a cockroach exhibit and a Christmas tree all being main plot points within the show — all things that have required some creativity in making and purchasing.

For Charrow, costumes and props are the best part. “Because I have short hair, I normally wear a wig and making sure it’s styled is important.” Beard application is also important, Charrow says, as many of the male characters have facial hair, and costumes play a huge role in the performance overall. “I think wigs and makeup really help you get into character, so it’s really this additional icing of going from, ‘We’re here — we’re rehearsing’ — to getting immersed into the situation.” She says that as an actor, it really adds to the experience.

Being Charrow’s senior year, she says it’s hard getting to the end: “It’s something you really want to enjoy while also all of the stresses of being a senior are sort of there.” She says it makes her want to not only just enjoy the experience but also make the show a great performance.

Charrow says it’s weird to think about not having the opportunity to be able to perform once she’s out of college, and that it’s something she wants to keep involved her life. “It’s bittersweet to think this is my last show, but also I don’t like to focus on, ‘this is my last show,’ because I don’t think it is.” She says she wants to play her role as best she can and do Lorraine justice.

This year there are many new faces among the players. “I always love when we get new members and it’s also great to see we have so many first-year students joining our club,” Mead says.

Charrow says the theater is very inclusive to everyone. “We can really find a spot for anybody,” she says. “It’s very easy to fit in.”

The play is open to audiences starting Thursday Nov. 2, at 7:30 p.m. and will run until Sunday, Nov. 5.