The Pete Nobody Knows
Take a break from studying this weekend to catch “The Me Nobody Knows,” a musical showcasing at Edison Theatre. “The Me Nobody Knows” relates the struggles of dozens of inner city students in a hostile environment. Although it premiered in 1970, this show still contains relevant themes of despair and hope, cynicism and optimism in the face of adversity. Cadenza recently had the opportunity to chat with Pete Winfrey, a sophomore in the production.
Cadenza: First of all, can you tell us about yourself?
Pete Winfrey: I’m majoring in drama. I’ve done three shows with the performing arts department already. Last fall, I did another show, “Ragtime,” with Ron Himes, the founder of the Black Rep and a Wash. U. graduate. He asked last March if I’d be interested in “The Me Nobody Knows.” Currently, we’re remounting this show for the weekend—we did it for four weeks, with six shows per week, last June. So everybody involved is pretty familiar with it.
C: What details about the show itself can you give us?
PW: Well, the setting is New York City in the 1970s. Obviously, it’s a very different place from today’s New York City. All the characters are kids, from ages about 12 to 20ish, who are all from the same neighborhood. The show contains a collection of stories of these kids who interact with a bad environment; it explores how they react to their situations. My character, especially, is at tension with the community.
C: So do the kids mostly want to get out of New York and make a better life somewhere else?
PW: A lot of the kids have dreams about rising out of their surroundings. Most want to, but they try in different ways, which are not always logical because they’re kids. It’s complicated.
C: In that case, how should I feel during or after seeing this show? Happy? Sad? Introspective?
PW: Really a mix of all three. There’s some of your typical “kids-at-school” interaction, which is fun. I think the end can really make the viewer examine what’s out there in inner cities. There’s a lot of subject material regarding the exposure of youth to the defects of society. There’s violence, there’s drug use, there’s unhealthy family life.
C: So how can all of those problems of 40 years ago be meaningful to us now?
PW: I think this is relevant for all of us. How many issues are there like these around us right now, say, in St. Louis? And although the show doesn’t necessarily put forth ways to solve these problems, so to speak, I think awareness that the show does raise is one step closer to solutions.
“The Me Nobody Knows” is playing at Edison Theatre tonight at 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 25 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 26 at 3p.m. Tickets are $15 for students.