“What I’ve learned is that as much as it is a play about theater in the practical way, it actually is about community and what we prioritize in our community," she said. "It’s a story that can be applied to any industry or any field."
Jennifer Latimer, the director of the play, said that community theater actors, just like professionals, care about what critics say.
“We often view community theater as this place where people are doing art for the love, but we often don’t realize that they still crave the same validations that we expect professional actors to take in faith,” Latimer said.
Latimer said this uncertainty is present in every member of a theatrical arts group.
"Why do I do this? Why do I act? Why do I do art? Is it because I love it," Latimer said, "or is it because now it’s an addiction, and I need it for validation?"
Latimer said that at the end of the day, acting is about bringing the community together to do something they love.
This community aspect is what drew Graham Prevatte, a senior who plays Volya Vedeninski, to the theater. Prevatte was able to connect with the play’s theme of validity and his character’s search for a “true voice.”
“There comes a point when he realizes he can’t appease everyone, might as well let his true voice be heard, and through that he finds himself,” Prevatte said about Vedeninski.
Prevatte said he found himself through theater while in college.
“Theater has provided me an outlet to be more outgoing, and I found some of my best friends through it," he said.
Prevatte said the play holds something for everyone.
“Every character people can relate to, granted that there are some very exaggerated characters, but I hope people come away laughing but finding out something about themselves as well,” Prevatte said.
Whether sitting in the house or at tables onstage, the audience will be connected with the play.
“I really do think it’s important for democracy that people get together in rooms of strangers and, even if it's just through applause or laughter or gasps, let their opinions count," Withers said. "And I think the play is also very funny!"