Ally Gillen as Bo, Kylie Judy as Julie, and Daniel LaMond as Pete hide from the brachiosaur.
It was a normal Tuesday in New Kensington, and then the dinosaurs came. Pete Rex, a new play by New York-based, New Kensington native and Clarion University alumnus playwright Alexander V. Thompson closes out the Clarion University Theatre season.
Pete, a 33-year-old man-child who dreamed of becoming a paleontologist, passes the time playing videogames on an old Xbox, as his hometown of New Kensington, is declining around him. He is joined by his best friend, Bo – an independent web developer trying to eke out a living in a town where there is no industry for which to develop websites – for their weekly all-night marathon of outdated videogames. Julie, his ex, bursts through the front door with the news that dinosaurs have leveled the local Giant Eagle. Pete, who hasn't had to make a real decision in years, now is forced into action.
The play combines a realism with the comic absurdity of a tyrannosaur in modern New Kensington. It fuses multiple genres into a unique creation, part horror sci-fi, part psychological drama and part comedy with a healthy dose of theatrical absurdity.
Pete is played by Daniel LaMond, third-year musical theatre major from North Beach, Maryland; his former girlfriend, Julie, is played by Kylie Judy, a second-year acting student from Franklin; and in the dual roles of Bo and Nero (the vicious, yet oddly smooth-talking tyrannosaur) is Ally Gillen, a sophomore acting major from Haverford. Shelby Hudson, a freshman acting major from Johnstown, appears as a TV reporter.
Student designers Zachary Rupp (sets), a sophomore technical theatre major from Nottingham Maryland, Dakotah Hall (costumes), a sophomore design major from Bradford, and Caitlin Morgan (lights), a first-year design major from Milheim, have creatively developed this unique world. Sound designers Ben Fye, a third-year design and communication major from Woodland, and Ally Davis, a third-year musical theatre major from Volant, have created a soundscape and effects that brings a herd of dinosaurs into the theatre.
Design supervisors are Edward J. Powers, associate professor, and Myra Bullington, instructor, are guiding the student designers and using traditional and innovative technology to bring the Cretaceous period dinosaurs to the stage.
"While both student and community audiences look forward to familiar plays, new works are the lifeblood of the theatre, we are grateful to the playwright for trusting us with this young play," said Robert Gerald Levy, director and assistant professor of theatre. Levy saw the play when it premiered last spring in New York City.
"I was taken not only by how funny it was, but also how wonderfully Thompson had handled the pathos and humanity of the characters, as well as the depiction of the great monstrous beasts," he said.
"Pete Rex" opens April 10 and plays nightly at 8 p.m. through April 13, and at 2 p.m. April 14. Tickets are available through ClarionUniversityTickets.com and through the box office at 393-2787 (ARTS).
Parents are cautioned that the play may not be suitable for children.