Dinner theatre production is dramatic tale from two eras
PLAINVIEW – Along life’s journey, each person faces critical junctures where the decisions made at that point can change life dramatically. That crossroads and the result is depicted in detail in the next production by Wayland Baptist University theatre, titled Frame 312, with performances Nov. 13, 14, 15 and 16.
A dramatic play by Keith Reddin, Frame 312 involves the story of suburban housewife Lynette, who shares a long-kept secret from her past with her family on her birthday. Their reaction and her recollection of the events of 30 years prior weave a story that calls for some introspection by audiences.
“This play is really about a woman who in the 1960s had an opportunity to go on a career path or do what many women were doing then, which was get married and have children,” said Dr. Marti Runnels, theatre director and dean of the School of Fine Arts.
“She really faced a dilemma about those two choices, and this play deals with making those kinds of decisions in our lives: how we make them, why we make them and how we deal with them in our professional and personal lives.”
Runnels said the play is unique in that the action flips between the 1990s – which is the present day birthday events – and the 1960s when the original action occurred, though not in the traditional flashback format with which audiences may be familiar from TV or movies.
Another unique aspect is the role of Lynette, which is played by two different actresses for each era. Part of Reddin’s original cast design, Runnels said he felt that was done to make the separation clean and prevent timely makeup and costume changes between acts. But he did make some changes to Reddin’s casting ideas in terms of the play’s other characters, breaking each role out into separate actors rather than having the same actor play multiple roles across eras, a move intended to really separate the two time periods.
The title refers to filmmaking, and Runnels said he’s taken an approach to the play that relates to the film process. He said while the play deals with a specific event in history and one woman’s role, the play transcends those events in order to paint a bigger picture of people in general.
“Ultimately, I think people will put themselves in Lynette’s position and decide they would’ve done the same thing, or they wouldn’t have done the same thing or how they would have handled things,” Runnels said.
Topping the cast list in the lead role of Lynette are WBU theatre veterans Rachel Morgan and Sarah Buckland. Wayland stage veterans Thomas Hoffman, a senior, Jordy Williams, Rachel Steed and Jake Miser return for the production as well. Newcomers Corinna Browning, a freshman theatre major who had a role in the summer production in Ruidoso, N.M., of The Mousetrap, is in the cast, as is freshman theatre major Lesley Gatlin. Other newcomers are Meredith Hardy, Corbin Waters and Jose Avila, who with Browning and Gatlin had small roles in the fall production of Shorts. This is the first full-length play at Wayland, however, for Gatlin, Hardy, Waters and Avila.
Runnels noted that Buckland and Morgan made great casting partners for the shared role of Lynette due to their height and build, crucial when casting two actors for the same character. A native of Plainview, Morgan is a junior music major and theatre minor who has been in several major productions at Wayland, including the lead role in the musical The Spitfire Grill in 2007 and in the dramatic play All My Sons from 2008 among others. Buckland, a sophomore theatre major, has been in several Shorts productions and had a role in All My Sons.
Amanda Allen, a sophomore theatre major and stage veteran, is serving as stage manager for this production, while new major Michael Callahan tackles lights and Steed runs sound. New student Alyssa Seaton serves as crew head for costumes and makeup, and Browning is in charge of props.
The play is Wayland’s one dinner theatre production for their season, with the catered meal by Johnny Carino’s beginning at 7 p.m. on the Harral Auditorium stage and the play following at 8 p.m. in the Harral Studio Theatre across the hall on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Sunday’s show is a matinee with lunch at 1 p.m. and the play at 2 p.m. The meal features a choice of stuffed roasted rigatoni or bowtie festival, with salad, bread and tea. After the play, ticketholders can return to Harral for dessert of either chocolate cake or tiramisu.
Tickets are $20 per person, which includes the meal and show, and reservations are required in advance for the meal with payment by Nov. 11. Tickets for the play only are $8 per person. Reservations for both can be made by calling the theatre box office at 291-1089.