The hot, thick air of the Charleston Alley Theatre was cut last weekend by the punchy voices of actors Thomas MacMullen and Tenille Ulm as they portrayed Michael and Agnes in “I Do, I Do.”
The musical explores the offbeat pace of life’s mediocrities and most precious moments, while shedding light on the realities of marriage and the oddities of being human with one another.
Director Duke Bagger said the musical comedy was a part of the theatre’s 29th season in show business. This musical stands apart from others because it is honest, exposing the good, bad and ugly aspects of marriage, and leaving out all the fluff, he said.
Another thing that sets the musical apart is its unusually small cast, which brings about vulnerability on the actors’ parts, MacMullen said.
“There is no hiding in a show like this,” MacMullen said. With only two characters, no chorus and minimal musical accompaniment, any mistakes or mess-ups are at the liberty of the actors.
MacMullen said he had been a fan of “I Do, I Do” since graduate school, when he first saw it presented by Eastern in 1993, and knew it was something he eventually wanted to be a part of.
He said he was excited to introduce the idea to Bagger when it came time to choose a new production earlier in the year, and he knew Ulm would be perfect for the role of Agnes.
Rehearsals for the show began only five weeks ago, Bagger said; however, the passion and ability of the actors to work as a team made producing the musical a breeze. They never viewed rehearsals as work, but rather made their time together fun and effective.
Ulm said she felt like the cast and crew were a family from the beginning.
While both actors are no strangers to the performing arts, the production was Ulm’s first time singing publicly since middle school and MacMullen’s first time singing and performing in a leading role.
The CAT prides itself on doing shows other production companies may not be willing to try, or putting people in the spotlight who may not get a chance elsewhere, and taking those risks has paid off many times in the past, he said.
The musical also gives the actors the ability to interact with members of the audience and play off of their energy and reactions—something Ulm said she admires about the performance.
She enjoyed the freedom of mingling with attendees and had fun getting to pick out certain viewers for interactions, she said.
The CAT tries to give back to the community that supports it and “I Do, I Do” was no exception, Bagger said. Senior citizens were invited to preview the show for free at its final dress rehearsals before opening Friday.
At the end of the day, MacMullen said his end goal is to provide locals with some quality entertainment.
“Everybody’s got a dream,” MacMullen said, “and mine is to just put on a good show with a little singing and a little dancing, and when you share that with somebody and you get a reaction out of it, that’s exactly what I’m looking for.”
Community members still have a chance to attend “I Do, I Do” Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Tickets for the production are $12 and can be purchased at the door. The Charleston Alley Theatre is located at 718 Monroe Avenue.
Alyssa Cravens can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]