Annette Dauster’s senior play “Old Times,” written by Harold Pinter, starts as soon as you walk in. The character Anna, played by Hillary Holt, senior, stands behind a suspended doorframe in wait. Eventually, the other two characters, Kate and Deeley, played by Dauster and Luke Adams, junior, respectively, trickle onstage so by the time the lights dim and the show is about to start, all the actors are ready to go.
The stage is minimalistic: two chairs, two crates, a sink, the suspended door frame and a floor covered in real grass and turf.
Many things set this play apart from past Jewell Theatre Company productions. One them being how Dauster uses all of the time she can for her characters. For instance, during intermission Anna wanders around the stage rearranging furniture and doing odd tasks, remaining in character the entire time. In fact, Anna is never actually out of the audience’s view until after curtain call.
But the most unique and surprising element of this show was the use of water. At the climax of the play, Kate stands in the middle of the stage and performs her final monologue as a shower of water is poured over her.
While the shower element was unique, voice projection was a minor issue, as the falling water drowned out Kate’s voice. The stage is in the center of the theatre, with all of the seating on each of the four sides. While this gives the audience the feeling like they are a part of the action happening onstage, frequently the actors are facing away from certain portions of the audience, which is inevitable considering no one can face in four directions at once.
Overall, Old Times was a fun time. Not only would I encourage you to see it on the principle that all William Jewell College students and faculty should support the school’s art programs, but it’s an interesting and different theatre experience.