Student Play Focuses on Challenges of College Life

The Visual & Performing Arts (VAPA) Department at Raritan Valley Community College presented "Wonderful Time," a play by Jonathan Marc Sherman on April 22 and 23 at 8 p.m. in the Welpe Theatre.

The play follows Linus Worth, a graduate film student in California preparing for his best friend's wedding in New York City. The morning of the flight he tells his girlfriend, Robin, that he's been unfaithful, believing this is the honest thing to do.

Robin dumps Linus. Confused and dateless, Linus leaves for the airport. On his way a fellow student, Betsy, asks him if she can videotape him doing “something spontaneous.” Linus and Betsy are strangers but have seen each other on campus. Linus agrees to be spontaneous, and what he does is offer her the extra plane ticket. She accepts. The rest of the play focuses on that new relationship.

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Cast from left to right: Zach Pflugh, Max Lemon, Nathaniel Pickens (seated on stairs), Allison Lessig, Hayley Pellis, Kopanny Pusztai, Megan Higgins (standing), Chris Esmerado and Alexis Orlofsky. Not pictured is Spencer Bautista.

The play is directed by VAPA adjunct professor Kristen Cerelli, who is also an actor and coach based out of NYC. The cast is made up almost entirely of RVCC theater majors.

Cerelli chose to direct this play because she  believes it is accessible to the college student cast and audience. “It’s about a young man who’s about to graduate college on the cusp of big life changes. I thought that they would really be able to sink their teeth in to this kind of material. "

The play was written in the late 90’s but still resonates with college students today. Graduating, getting married and witnessing friends change are all still part of becoming an adult. “I think it really speaks to the challenges and the surprises and the hope and the sadness that come along with transitions, especially transitions that happen moving from being a young adult into being a real adult,” Cerelli said.

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Spencer Bautista, Chris Esmerado and Max Lemon.

The play is short but performing it in a small black box theater such as the Welpe has presented challenges. “There are 20 scenes and the location is constantly changing. So that has probably been one of the biggest challenges if not the biggest challenge.  You have to let the audience know we are in New York City one minute. Then we are in California. Then we are on a college campus. Then we are in an airplane.  So it’s very challenging.”

Cerelli thinks the play has not been staged much due to these numerous set changes.  “It’s not done a lot. But I like that about it because it’s not something everyone has seen a million times."

Despite these challenges, Cerelli believes the play will be a success. “The cast has worked really hard.  I think they’re a really special group of kids and definitely worth a trip to the theater. It’s free and it’s going to be a really fun lighthearted yet thought provoking evening of theatre.”

Featured image caption:

Nathaniel Pickens and Allison Lessig.

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The Record is Raritan Valley Community College's independent online student newspaper. The Record provides a medium for information on all things related to the college community as well as an outlet for students to practice writing skills. The mission of The Record is to encourage student involvement in campus activities and publicize matters of concern to the college community.
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