I wasn’t familiar with this play by Larry Coen and David Crane, and since ART usually brings us really fine productions, I was eager to experience this one.
But what was revealed in a big, bold way was a farce/melodrama sort of thing that’s mostly just a string of jokes and sight gags. The premise of the story seems fodder appropriate for such a treatment. There is a large film crew in the middle of the desert (near Tucson) working on a big-time film—think Ben-Hur and The Ten Commandments sort of thing—by big-time director D. W DeWitt—think Cecil B. DeMille. I really don’t know the exact plot of the fictional film, called Exeunt Omnes; I’m not sure we were really given that information because it’s not that important. No, the story that’s ours involves an film extra, Benny (Zachary Zupke), a young man hoping to be “discovered,” his brother Phil (Matthew Osvog) who comes to try to get him to come back home but who is himself sucked into the world of making big Hollywood films in the desert himself, and the brothers vying for the love of Louise (Tyler Reaser), who’s in charge of the extras, which number about 3400. It’s your typical epic melodrama sort of story, with chases and sword fights and mistaken identities and burning bushes that get out of hand and such, but it’s far from epic.
The students give it great effort. The thing is, this sort of stuff is really very hard to do well. Everything must be crisp, the timing perfect, actors fully committed to their personas. And this cast was invested. Sometimes their efforts made you forget that the material doesn’t deserve their investment. But they did well what they were called on to do. I'm sure there have been many
The opening night audience, which was stuffed with students, seemed to enjoy
themselves immensely. And really, if this is the kind of silliness that might
entice some of them back to see the better stuff, I’m all for it.
Presented by Arizona Repertory Theatre
Various times Thursdays through Sundays through Oct. 9
Marroney Theatre on the University campus
Near Park and Speedway
Running time: 90 minutes with no intermission
Friends and family of Wendy Van Leuveren are in shock. They’re grieving, and they’re looking for answers. But one thing is very clear—the sudden
death of this well-known and well-loved woman is a tragedy that has rocked many throughout the Tucson community.
On Wednesday, Aug. 31, Wendy took her own life after a mostly-private struggle with mental illness. The death of this beloved mother, partner, daughter, sister and friend came as a surprise to many, as is evident in the numerous posts and comments on the “Remembering Wendy Van L” Facebook page, created on Aug. 31, and had 670 followers as of the evening of Sept. 13.
Loved ones also created the “Wendy Van Leuveren Memorial Fund” to raise money for Wendy’s partner Cameron Green and their young son Escher, to help ease financial responsibilities while they grieve. By Tuesday evening, supporters had raised $5,153 of the $6,000 goal and shared the post on Facebook 390 times.
Wendy moved to Holland earlier this year with her partner and son, leaving behind an abundance of family, friends and admirers in Tucson and across the country.
Her foster-sister and close friend Nellie Cornett posted on the remembrance Facebook page, “Wendy was always bad ass,” remembering the time a teenage Wendy calmly navigated a truck full of youth to safety after the brakes had gone out.
“She was always hungry for being better, doing better, having a principled and moral approach to everything,” Nellie posted. “She always strove to be a better friend.”
It’s obvious, scrolling through the posts, Wendy was a great friend. She was kind and smart—a business woman and community organizer. She was an artist and a great beauty—stunning and stylish. Even those who didn’t know her well—something that many wrote in their FB posts—were touched by her charm.
Loved ones will be holding a memorial to celebrate Wendy’s life on Saturday, Sept. 24, from 4 to 7 p.m., at the Galactic Center at 35 E. Toole Ave. People are encouraged to submit art to be hung on the walls at the memorial—something that reminds them of Wendy. Art and poetry can be submitted into a Google Drive at this link. To submit art that isn’t digital, email email@example.com or just bring them to the memorial.
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