For the second play of the season, the college is showing “Farragut North.” The play is about Stephen Bellamy, an up and coming politician who accomplishes things people twice his age haven’t but falls into the trap of greed and lust.
“[Farragut North is] loosely based on the 2004 Howard Dean campaign during his run for presidency in 2004,” Beate Pettigrew, artistic coordinator, said. “He was caucusing in Iowa and had a little meltdown and because of that meltdown, and he lost a lot of his supporters.”
But the play is not just about politics. It is a character study, showing Bellamy’s rise and fall. The actor chosen to capture these emotions was student Keegan Castle.
“[Politics are] the medium through which the point of the play is being conveyed,” Castle said. “It’s so you can watch it and you don’t have to ..know about the inner workings of politics, but you’re watching over the course of a couple days what happens to someone who is on top of their game and hubris.”
Along with being artistic coordinator, Pettigrew is directing the play. She has been teaching theater at the college for 30 years and has been directing plays for over four decades.
With every new play comes new challenges for both the director and the actors.
“I think the big thing is not understanding the time commitment,” Pettigrew said. “They just don’t get it, and they struggle with understanding what rehearsal is about. It’s not about memorizing your lines real fast and then just doing it over and over and over again. It’s about rediscovering and reworking and talking and so that’s sometimes a big shock for people.”
The play also features the lead Keegan Castle. This is Castle’s first time being the lead in a play.
“I never did high school theater, so this is my first experience theater in general and it’s been ridiculously amazing,” Castle said. “I feel like almost that’s almost a blessing that I didn’t get involved with high school theater. I was involved a lot mostly with art before I got into this, but then this just changed my life, changed just who I am.”
Castle previously acted as minor roles in other plays at the college.
“We did Macbeth a while ago here, which was huge,” Castle said. “It was packed almost every single night, I think, if not every single night. It was mostly just fighting. The play for me was just ‘you might look good on stage fighting so you got the role’ and that’s how that’s what I did.”
Because the character of Steven Bellamy is so confident, Castle tries to show that both on and off stage.
“I think the people in the department have been a huge support,” Castle said. “I’m trying my best to not show anything faltering at all because I feel like if I show that then they’re not going to be as confident [in me], but because of their confidence, I have no nervousness really.”
Farragut North will be shown in the Polsky Theatre in the Carlson Center this Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. The play features a brief nudity scene, making it suitable for more mature audiences.
Story by Jake Ditto