UPDATED: October 11, 2017 at 4:04 a.m.
The energy in the Agassiz Theater was electric this weekend as the cast and crew of the comedy “Next Customer Please” prepared for their upcoming opening night. The original play, written by alumnus Boyd I. R. Hampton ’16 and directed by Carla E. Troconis ’19, follows a group of eccentric coworkers in retail struggling with wild customers and corporate decisions.
The rehearsal process was explorative and playful, with a lot of laughter. “I’m really excited for people to see comedic plays back on this campus,” said Troconis. On casting the comedy, a genre of theater often very exclusive to white, male, and experienced actors, she said, “It was really important to me to bring new people and people of color into comedy—and women.” Approximately half the cast, which mixes newer and more experienced actors, are people of color.
The theater has been transformed to reflect the cool, corporate design of a retail store. Costume Designer Audrey H. Effenberger ’19 said, “Those IKEA shelves, they’re the real stars of the show.” She is especially excited for the audience to see how the crew has experimented with staging and set, as the Agassiz theater has transformed from its old, regal self into the comically mundane environment of a retail store. “We’re using the space in front of the stage as another level of the store,” she said.
The cast of “Next Customer Please” was lively and optimistic going into tech week. Actor Rocket R. Claman ’21, who will play Rosie, gave credit to the director. “Carla is a phenomenal director, I really look up to her. It makes me really happy to be here,” she said. Her character Rosie gets into trouble when she can’t stop talking. Nikki M. Daurio ’19 plays Sandra, an ultra-positive character who considers the store her happy place. Daurio was excited to portray a character who is energetic, but also has two sons to keep her anchored.
Both actors agreed that they hope the show acts as a remedy for the stress both of midterm season and of recent current events. “I want it to be levity for the student body—go to the theater and laugh with your friends,” Daurio said.
Claman added, “I think people will leave the show happy.”
“Next Customer Please” opens October 12 at Agassiz Theater and runs until October 15.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
CORRECTION: October 11, 2017
A previous version of this article misspelled Audrey H. Effenberger's name.
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