‘Mr. Marmalade’ play makes weekend run

Hannah Sieg, Contributing Writer

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The first performance of “Mr. Marmalade” took place at the Black Box Theatre in the Doudna Fine Arts Center Feb. 28 and its last performance was noon Sunday.

“Mr. Marmalade” is a dark comedy about four-year-old Lucy and her imaginary friend Mr. Marmalade.

The cast has been rehearsing since auditions took place back in January, according to Eastern’s website.

Freshman theatre major Max Zumpano said rehearsals took place from 6-10 p.m. every Sunday through Friday.

“We were constantly in rehearsal,” Zumpano said. “We worked on certain blocks of the script each day.”

Sophomore theatre major Chelsea Claussen said she wanted to be a part of “Mr. Marmalade” because the show sends an important message.

“I wanted to be a part of something special,” Claussen said.

It was hard to portray the characters through someone else’s eyes, Claussen said.

“We had to portray our characters through Lucy’s eyes. We had to embody what that was like,” Claussen said. “Then we had to ignore some characters who were imaginary and some who weren’t.”

PeggyRae Johnson was the guest artist brought in to direct “Mr. Marmalade.” Johnson has been working in theatre for decades now.

“‘Mr. Marmalade’ is a very difficult script,” Johnson said. “There’s a skill level that is required to work with actors, designers, text analysis and to make a statement that you hope is what the playwright intended.”

Still, “Mr. Marmalade” is a dark character and Zumpano said he loved playing him.

“I love going out and shocking the audience and giving them something they’re not expecting,” Zumpano said. “I kind of like playing the antagonist or the bad guy. I think it’s fun.”

Claussen said she loved playing her character as well.

“She was the diva and I love playing the diva,” Claussen said. “The accent was interesting.”

When asked about their favorite parts of the show, both Claussen and Johnson said it was the cast and how well they came together.

“It’s interesting how our dynamic got thrown together. We’re all so close now,” Claussen said.

“I was proud the cast all came together as a supportive ensemble. That’s essential in theatre — to collaborate, listen and support one another,” Johnson said. “This cast did that and I was very proud of (it).”

Zumpano, Claussen and Johnson all said that the play was dark yet serious.

“I think that there is value in this play. As dark as it is, the playwright has given us a story that we laugh at then we get sucker-punched because it’s so dark,” Johnson said. “Right now it seems to me it’s a good time for all of us to step back and realize we’re in a dark place. I think we need to remember to listen and support each other when we talk about this. I hope the audience goes away talking about it.”

Zumpano said he recommends the play for its important message.

“Literally everyone should come to see this show because of the important message it’s sending,” Zumpano said. “Not everyone might enjoy it, but I do think everyone can get something out of it.”

Hannah Sieg can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].