Student director brings dark comedy to life

A conversation with Anthony Newman

Temi Omilabu, Staff Reporter

On Oct. 16-18, The Player’s Theater Group’s newest student-directed play, “The Exit Interview” hits the black box and all Case Western Reserve University students have the privilege of watching the play for free.

The play revolves around Dick Fig, a professor who has been terminated from his university job and has an agonizing exit interview with Eunice, an absurd, very traditional man whose views vary vastly from Dick’s.

The play explores topics from religion to politics to science before reaching a conclusion that nobody would expect—one that involves a gunman on campus. The play is also interactive, so audience participation makes the play even better.

I sat down with the director Anthony Newman, a third-year student at CWRU, to get the scoop on this new play.

Q: Why should students attend this show?
A: It’s freaking hilarious. This is a show that I picked out because I knew it would appeal to a college audience. It’s very irreverent and touches on a variety of topics from religion to politics. It also makes fun of a lot of modern day issues, kind of like how “South Park” or “Family Guy” does. I really think the campus will like it. The show also touches on sensitive topics that will make it a little uncomfortable for some people—but I think that’s good. Not to give anything away, but at the end of the play, there’s a scene between the gunman and Dick, and it’s definitely the most human moment in the play. Although this show is comedy, no subject should be off-limits to comedy. This show creates great comedy out of dark subject matters, and that makes it special.

Q: So, what can people our age get out of this play?
A: A lot of people can relate to Dick—he’s a typical college dude, and he’s pretty open and liberal. We’ve all had beliefs we’ve had to hide from our parents back home or whoever else.

Q: What has been the hardest part about putting on this show?
A: It’s one of the most technically intensive plays I’ve ever put on. There are projections used, and there are a lot of quick changes since a lot of the actors play a couple of different roles. But it has been fun. The cast is talented and open, and we definitely have a very improvisational feel during rehearsals. So many lines have been ad-libbed and then added to the script. They even see some aspects of the play in the script that I completely overlooked.

Q: Now’s your chance—do you have any words for the audience?
A: I hope that people come in with an open mind and are ready to laugh. Be open to laugh, be open to the weirdness. It’s not your typical play.