‘A Bright New Boise’ premiers Thursday

Elizabeth Wood, Campus Reporter

A man stands at the center of the stage, illuminated by a single yellow light. For a few moments, all is still besides the sounds of his ragged breathing echoing across the room. Slowly, he looks up and shouts: “Now!”

He waits for a moment before shouting the word again and again and again—faster, quicker, louder, as if he were desperately pleading with someone to deliver the divine judgement he has been waiting for.

His pleas are met with silence and the stage fades to black.

A dark comedy called A Bright New Boise will be coming to the Black Box at the Doudna Fine Arts Center Thursday night. The play centers around five Hobby Lobby coworkers who try to find meaning in their minimum wage jobs as well as their individual lives through their faith and personal philanthropies.

Anne Thibault, director for A Bright New Boise and theatre professor, said that the play is a play of ideas.

“People can find their own journey through the play,” Thibault said. “There’s not sort of big idea being hammered home.”

As each character enters the stage, a new set of ideas, morals and meaning is presented to the audience. Slowly, each character begins to trust one more co-worker, connecting with them in some way—be it through uncomfortable conversation or staying late to connect to the Wi-Fi.

Max Deremiah, senior musical theatre performance major, said her character, Pauline, brings order to the chaos that takes over Hobby Lobby through the play.

“Pauline has everything in order, everything has it’s own place, everything is a certain way, and Will is the source of chaos for her,” Deremiah said. “She has lost control of everything that she has set pride in, and I think reconnecting with herself is definitely a journey through the play.”

After a year and a half of living through the COVID-19 pandemic, Thibault said she related to the play because of the characters’ struggles to connect with one another.

“We were all trying to find a new way to connect and finding new ways to cross gaps and to create bridges, so that’s what this play is about to me,” Thibault said. “It’s about: What is family? Who is family, and what does that mean? But it’s mostly about trying to be alive in the world and trying to create a connection with another person.”

Haylie Denzer, a senior theatre performance major and Anna in the play, said it’s terrifying to be back in live theatre after a year of videotaping plays. She said it was easy to get inside her head while they taped, but she loves hearing the audience react to their lines.

“It’s just an energy that you can’t recreate anywhere else other than in a theatre,” Denzer said. “So it’s just awesome, and obviously since COVID, we haven’t really had a sense of community, or at least as tight nit as it was before, so getting to come back is just really great.”

A Bright New Boise will premier Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. in the Black Box at the Doudna Fine Arts Center. Tickets for A Bright New Boise will be available at the ticket office in the Doudna Fine Arts Center or can be found online at https://www.eiu.edu/doudna/events.php?id=610.


Elizabeth Wood can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]