October 6-8, 8:00 p.m.
Adams Pool Theatre
Directed by Andy J. Boyd ’14
Produced by Katherine L. Price ’14 and Aly G. Martinez ’13
“Affordable Rates and Color TV” isn’t an extravagant show. On the contrary, it takes its staging cues from the plot’s run-down setting and uses its focus and streamlined dialogue to speak volumes more than an elaborate production could. The playwright and director, Andy J. Boyd ’14, used his own childhood living in Phoenix, Ariz. as inspiration to set the play in the more desperate parts of the American Southwest, areas made progressively more irrelevant by the decline of Route 66. “It’s a place where people live and where people make their home,” Boyd says on the play’s setting of a rundown motel, “but it’s also a place that implies change.”
Change is one of the key topics in “Affordable Rates and Color TV,” as protagonist Kim has to decide what she wants to do with the rest of her life: either run her family’s motel or leave Prescott for good. “I think this is a theme a lot of people our age grapple with, this ‘How do you become who you think you should become?’” Boyd says. Stage Manager Alice Li ’13 adds, “It feels so sad to realize that this is something that could happen in the present day, the feeling of being stuck in this deserted, not-that-great place.” The atmosphere of captivity is augmented by the play’s staging, which is confined to a single room which characters enter and exit throughout. The limited set also implies a wider problem: this play is just one small vignette in a much larger narrative of anxiety and loneliness in Prescott, Ariz.
The unstable Arizonan background reflects the chaotic trajectory of the lead character’s life, caught between her responsibilities and her dreams of freedom. Mary C. Hallowell ’14 takes the role of Kim, the 17-year-old motel manager, opposite William D. Kehler ’12 as her overbearing 23-year-old boyfriend Scott. Hallowell says of her character, “She has a lot of issues with her mom and her dad just isn’t a presence ... so I think of all the relationships that I had to think about that was the toughest one, just because that’s really ingrained in her.” The character of Kim is both easily recognizable and quickly relatable. Her struggles reflect the same anxieties all young adults share about what it means to grow up.
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Boyd’s Subtlety Carries ‘Rates’Directed and written with insightful subtlety, the play—which ran from October 6 to 8 in the Adams Pool Theatre—aims to make bold statements about life and the decisions that shape it.
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Family Quarrels in "Diamonds"“It’s fourth of July, nighttime,” says Boyd, describing the dramatic climax of his play. “There will be fireworks exploding off in the distance, throwing colors across the set in these big dramatic washes.” The action on stage will be equally volatile. The patriarch, James (Joshua G. Wilson ’13), reveals he wants to sell the family farm, and his wife (Mallory J. Weiss ’15), and daughter (Amy Q. Friedman ’14, a Crimson editor) oppose his decision.
"Acres of Diamonds" Unearths American DramaBoyd infuses this family drama with the familiar setup of chasing the American Dream, symbolically setting the opening scene on the Fourth of July. Still, Boyd manages to make the story his own by bringing it into the present day, in the aftermath of the last recession, which gives the theme of lost and broken American dreams added poignancy and realism.
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