By: SHANNON ANDERSON
The upcoming Tesla’s Letters offers a theatre experience most have never seen before. With a four-person cast and alternative seating Tesla’s Letters is a unique take on any other traditional play.
The play revolves around Daisy, an American writer, who travels to Serbia to visit the Nikola Tesla Museum. Daisy is played by Paige Neeley, 20, junior theatre major from London. Upon her arrival she is told that many Americans have come to the museum in search of blueprints for Tesla’s fabled death-ray. The museum director, played by Baxter Wilhelm, 19, sophomore theatre major from Westminster, Mass., refuses to trust her with the museum archives. He offers instead, a deal; access to the letters if she travels to the Croatian village of Smiljan (where Serbians are not allowed) and take pictures of Tesla’s childhood home for the museum. Smiljan has been the scene of recent war and deemed unsafe for Americans. Daisy agrees to this dangerous quest, and thus her adventure, and the play begin.
The play, written by Jeffrey Stanley, has a sort of “cross any boundary” theme which gives the audience an opportunity to look past cultural boundaries and gain a broader understanding of the humans around them.
Director and Eastern Professor Jeffery Boord-Dill said the play is unlike other plays because students and staff only had four weeks to rehearse as opposed to the original five.
Boord-Dill said another part of the play that is unlike other plays is the small cast; only four roles total. He said this supplies an in-depth look at characters, unlike shows with big casts that only break the surface of a character’s personality and backstory.
As a unique treat for audience members and a challenge for the student actors, set designer and visiting assistant professor Jerome Wills has chosen an alley-seat setting. Wills said the seating is different because rather than sitting in the seats of the theatre, audience members will be seated on two sides of the stage; this stage construction provides an intimate experience for the audience.
Tesla’s Letters has humor, historical and scientific aspects, and the characters have accents. The audience must work through Daisy’s trials, the main character, as she gives way to her misinformation and finds the truth. Boord-Dill said the play has a lot to take in and makes the audience think.
Boord-Dill is most excited for his cast.
“They are so much fun,” Boord-Dill said. “I can count on them and have confidence that they will get the job done.”
The show will be in Gifford Theatre in the Campbell Building. Admission is $5 for students and seniors and $6 for everyone else. Tickets are available at the box office in the Campbell Building from noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and may be purchased before shows begin; these can be bought in person or by calling (859) 622-1315.
The show will Sept. 23-26 at 8 p.m., as well as a matinée performance Sept. 27 at 2 p.m.