“Somebody Important” at Someplace Strange

| Senior Cadenza Editor

When most people think of a play, they also think of a theater with a stage. In its latest production, Thyrsus, Washington University’s oldest student theater group, does not accept this traditional view.

This weekend, Thyrsus will put on an original play, “Somebody Important,” at the Eliot Hall Loading Dock on Snow Way. It was written by sophomore Lauren Becker and directed by senior Meghan Kenny. Becker wrote the play specifically for the loading dock site, so its location isn’t totally random. The play focuses on a young girl named Ellen who is murdered. She finds herself in limbo, and, while there, Ellen interacts with some interesting characters.

“She meets incarnations of the seven deadly sins,” said senior Selena Lane, who is a past president and current member of Thyrsus. “She interacts with each one of them to figure out what they did, how they died, and what they’re doing there.”

This is not Thyrsus’ first site-specific play, the student theater group is known for its use of experimental theater techniques and more intimate performances. Past site-specific locations include a baseball field, an abandoned basement, a stairwell and a parking garage. (I’m still trying to figure out how you could watch a play that takes place in a stairwell, but Thyrsus seems to know what it is doing.) Lane finds the site-specific approach “opportunistic,” because you can write the script based on the parameters of the space.

“We loved the loading dock because there are so many different parts to it that a writer could work with,” said Lane. “There are levels, greenery, covered areas, uncovered areas, ramps, stairs, etc. It’s actually way more than a platform for loading.”

If you’re looking for an eclectic experience this weekend, then “Somebody Important” is for you.