Although the title of the Caine College of the Arts upcoming show leads audience members to believe it is a musical, “Awake and Sing!” is a play depicting the captivating story of a family from the Bronx during the Great Depression.
Through this show, the audience watches the life of the Berger family and is taken through the highs and lows of their lives.
Griffin Satoda, a transfer student from MiraCosta College, is continuing his education in theatre design and technology with an emphasis in stage management. “Awake and Sing!” is his debut show for stage managing at Utah State.
“The whole process has been awesome,” he said. “For me, it’s cool to compare the similarities and differences between here, MiraCosta, and some of the professional theaters I’ve worked at in San Diego.”
Satoda would like to put into perspective the collective efforts of everyone both on and off-stage.
“Everyone involved, aside from the director and supervising staff, is a student here at USU,” he said. “On top of a full schedule of classes during the day, we are in rehearsals six days a week, four hours each day, some also working a job.”
Cameron James, who plays Ralph Berger in “Awake and Sing!,” is another transfer student at USU. He is a theatre arts major with an acting emphasis, and this is his debut performance on the Lyric stage. James has loved the challenge this show has been for him.
“The material is hard from an acting perspective. Because of the way the play is written, people will know when you’re nailing it,” he said. “Hard work is demanded from it, and I’m learning so much.”
He believes it is important to clarify to his fellow Aggies that this show is not about one person, but about the cast as an ensemble.
“It’s about real life,” James said. “These characters are fighting to win, and (I hope) the students who see the show leave like they just saw a great sporting event.”
However, there is much more action happening than an audience can see. Behind the set, a whole other show is taking place. Graduate student Ally Thieme, the costume designer for the production, conducted hours of research before designing the costumes for “Awake and Sing!,” including online research and watching documentaries and other movies set in the same time period.
“My favorite thing to do is to look at old Sears catalogues, they have everything!” she said.
Thieme took the family’s financial situation, individual personalities, and what was happening in the world during that time into account.
“Between all that and my research, I was able to then develop my sketches and my initial renderings to then show the director, who mainly has the final say,” she said.
“Awake and Sing!” will run Sept. 26-30 at 7:30 p.m. with a 2:00 p.m. matinee Sept. 30. Tickets are free for USU students.