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ACT brings behind-the-scenes antics centerstage

Have you ever wondered what really goes on behind the scenes at the theater? Well, here is your chance to find out: from Oct. 12 to 16 the All College Theater (ACT) is performing James Sherman’s comedy, “Magic Time” in the Don Evans Theater, formerly the Kendall Hall Black Box.

Set in 1974 Chicago, “Magic Time” follows the backstage antics of a theater troupe in the midst of a run of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” The show begins on closing night and explores the real-life relationships of the “Hamlet” cast and crew, which closely parallel the relationships of their characters.

This art-mimics-life construct presented an interesting challenge to the cast and crew. “It’s like doing the show twice,” Honor Friberg, junior women’s and gender studies major and “Magic Time” production manager, said.

Nicole Little, senior communications major and stage manager, agreed. “There were unique considerations with the way this show was done,” Little said. “The director had to cast actors knowing that they also had to fit their parts in Hamlet.”

The cast and crew have openly praised director Jim DeMonic for being both a great guy to work with and an accomplished director. While DeMonic was hired because ACT hires directors for its shows, all other aspects of the production are student-run.

Though “Magic Time” may be especially funny to those with theater experience, the comedy in the show is based on the characters’ relationships and can appeal to any audience. For those without backstage knowledge, ACT verifies that the show closely resembles the actual rehearsal process.

“It’s like real life,” Friberg said. Bethany Allinder, junior English major, portrays the “Hamlet” stage manager in the show and worked closely with Little to authenticate her role. “It was actually very interesting because I got to watch a real stage manager work,” Allinder said. As an actor, Allinder enjoyed the rare opportunity to play both cast and crew.

The cast consists of five men and three women, who all became very close during the rehearsal process, Little said. “All of our shows go up fast,” she said. “But this one was especially intense because we only had exactly four weeks from casting to opening night. Because you are with these people every night, we really bonded.”

The show starts each night at 8 p.m. and tickets cost $4 for students, faculty and senior citizens, and $6 for the general public.

ACT meetings are held every Wednesday at 2 p.m. in Kendall Hall, room 154.

– For more information on ACT or “Magic Time,” visit tcnj.edu/~act.


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