For William and Mary Theatre’s second-season, Conor Wilson ’19 dedicated his senior directorial stage to an adaption of Hunter Bell’s “[title of show]”—a raunchy, quirky and utterly hilarious one-act, featuring five actors, four chairs and a keyboard. For Wilson, the target of his directorial was to create an ‘original’ production, and that he did. For the first time in the senior directorial project history, Wilson brings a musical to the Kimball Theatre’s stage.
Wilson compiled a phenomenal cast list for his production. Sarah Marksteiner ’19 plays Susan, the quick-witted, nine-to-five employee who despises her job, accompanied by Alex Poirier ’19 as Heidi—a Broadway wannabee and total drama queen. Both Marksteiner and Poirier play second-in-role to Alex Bulova ’19, as Jeff, and James Lynch ’19, as Hunter—two ironically sentimental characters who chronical their own venture to create a submission for the New York Musical Theatre Festival in their musical “[title of show].”
And, of course, Patti O’Meara as Mary—the quiet, yet critical, pianist who everyone facetiously forgets.
This nesting-doll of a musical required months of hard work and years of consideration, according to director-producer, Wilson. Wilson had been considering his submission to the senior directorial project since his freshman year.
“My freshman year, I had a big brother, mentor, Tyler Bell, who got me thinking about going into those leadership positions and I thought about fulfilling those roles and capacity here at the department,” Wilson said. “I wear a lot of hats because this is a project that I have applied for and done on my own accord.”
“[title of show]” was originally produced on Broadway and opened in July of 2008. Nevertheless, countless hours were poured into the effort of the student’s adapted performance. Wilson has been preparing the script since last year. Since January, the cast been rehearsing six days a week for upwards to four hours a night.
“I have always liked the idea of directing, I am primarily an actor here, but I have done the artistic and other theatrical work,” Wilson said, “I just wanted to try it out, this is an experiment, yes, that’s what it is. I wanted to do something, ‘let’s just do something and take some risks and go crazy,’ I said.”
While reflecting on the past months spent working on the project, both Wilson and house manager, Hillary Leersnyder ’19, spoke highly of the time.
“Oh, it’s been a time,” Wilson said. “A time in the best way possible. It’s been so fulfilling, such a positive energy, and positive vibe surrounding this musical.”
Wilson spoke to the time and effort Leersnyder has put into promoting the show.
“Hillary has been going crazy with the publicity,” Wilson said, “trailers, posters, and reaching out to the public.”
Leersnyder was not alone in the project’s construction of success. Wilson especially credits the hard work and commitment given by costume designer, Erin Wiggins ’19, scenic/props designer, Maddy Wade ’19 and choreographer, Ola Pozor ’19, for the end product’s success
“And that’s not even all of it,” Wilson said. “They’ve been working nights, especially during production week, just countless hours spent. It really shows how much commitment and dedication needs to be spent in a show like this, but the fact that we keep doing it over and over again is really a testament to how compelling this work is.”
When asked if he believes that the prevalent nature of the time and commitment will be shown on show night, Wilson was confident in his response.
“I know it will be,” Wilson said, “absolutely know it will.”
Wilson turned to house manager Leersnyder to talk about the initial set-up of production and the process as a whole.
“As a team, the production staff, we got together and had primary meetings to make sure we are all on the same page for things, and to gauge interest, and really see who was willing to help Conor in the project,” Leersnyder said, “it’s been really fluid in how we work together.”
The duo hopes for an impressive turnout over the next few nights over the production. With a entrance fee of none, other than an option to donate to further theatre department endeavors, they believe that they will be able to attract a decent crowd.
For most of the cast and crew, “[title of show]” will be their final performance as college students. Wilson and Leersnyder hope that this performance will give them all a satisfying end, and positive marks for their next adventures in theatre or careers.
“For a lot of us here this will be the last production we put on here at William and Mary and I hope for those people it makes a nice punctuation mark,” Wilson said, “whether that be a period, an exclamation point, or a question mark.”