The Aurora Theatre hosted a GGC Night for their new black box show, “The Two Kids That Blow Sh*t Up.” All GGC students were invited to attend the final preview of the show for free, and those in attendance were also given the opportunity to attend a talk-back with the actors and director after the show.
Approximately 90 students filled the Peach State Federal Credit Union Studio Theatre on Sept. 6 for GGC night. So many students attended that the staff was forced to pull out extra seats to accommodate all the students.
“The biggest goal [with GGC nights] is to give more exposure to the arts for students on campus,” said Jaclyn Faircloth, Assistant Professor of Theatre. “Having these GGC Nights provides an evening that students don’t have to worry about cost, but can still take advantage of the variety of stories the theatre has to offer… and hopefully, this exposure helps to create empathy with people that are different from ourselves.”
The audience included students that have been involved in theatre at GGC in the past as well as students who are not involved on campus.
“I think a lot of people in there actually weren’t theatre people, but I think that was intentional,” said third-year Human Development and Aging Services major Brandon Elam, who is involved with theatre on campus. “Since we have a collaboration with the Aurora theatre, I think what GGC is trying to do is build that connection and get other students on campus to know that we have this connection.”
“Two Kids” is a two-person show performed in Aurora’s studio space and is staged in the round (with the audience surrounding three sides of the stage). It follows two best friends for almost 30 years of their life, from age 9 to age 38, but the story is not told chronologically. We see snippets of the two characters lives at various ages as they navigate their complicated, intimate relationship through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.
Both characters, Diana and Max, are Asian-Americans played by Asian-American actors, Vivi Thai and Jack Ha. Thai was working in Los Angeles when cast in the show and Ha is a local actor and stand-up comedian.
“You can’t deny the fact that producing an Asian-American voice with Asian-American actors in this day and age is radical. That’s exciting and definitely something to be applauded,” Director Pam Joyce said. “They also need to be able to play 38 all the way down to nine… When you start thinking about age and type, it becomes a challenge.”
Regardless of the challenges, Thai spoke more about the rewarding element of playing such a wide age range.
“It’s a very rare gift to get to play someone from childhood to adulthood because you get to take them on that journey and you get to see what the shape of their life is like. That was the really awesome thing about playing this,” Thai said.
Ha claimed that finding the right energy was what helped make each age distinctive from another.
“In [a scene early in the show], I literally felt nine years old. I was having fun, playing around. That energy that you have in the beginning, that’s how a nine-year-old is supposed to act, you have full energy! But as you get older, your energy gets a little bit lower. That’s how the differences of each age came through.”
The production team only started rehearsing Aug. 12, less than a month before the show opened. This was a relatively short rehearsal process, especially for such a demanding show.
Both actors are onstage for almost the entirety of the show, making it physically demanding. The set was very minimalist, only having some tables and chairs, a raised platform that spun, and a few props for the actors to work with.
On the walls behind the four sides of the audience, there were screens arranged to look like broken glass. Throughout the show, different images were projected onto the screens to give the audience more clues as to where the scene was taking place. The current age of the characters was also shown on the screens at the beginning of each scene to help the audience better understand the non-chronological narrative.
At the talk-back after the show, some students seemed to still be confused by the nonlinear nature of the story. When asked to shout out words going through their mind after seeing the show, students said things like, “weird,” “intense,” and “chaotic.”
Actress Vivi Thai talked about her process of understanding the script.
“I read the script, and then I read it chronologically several times, just to get a feel for the life,” said Thai. “There were definitely things that I didn’t catch that, when you read it chronologically, it makes a lot more sense.”
Joyce claimed that the element of relationship is the driving force of the show.
“Two Kids is really a story about… how we define relationships in this modern age, in the world of the internet. [In the show], there’s a sense of intimacy and connection, and longevity. As our roles in life change, what becomes important to us as people in relationship with each other? What is happiness in a relationship? I love how tempestuous their relationship is.”
Joyce further explained how the desires expressed in the show defines what love is in the context of the show.
“Love for me, in this play, is to be seen. If I were to summarize the play in one statement, it would be, ‘The desire to be seen by another human being is the greatest gift ﹘ and worth hanging onto.'”
The show runs through Sept. 30 at the Aurora, and GGC students receive a discounted rate with their Claw Card.
The next GGC night is Sept. 20 for the show Be Here Now, and tickets can be reserved at the Aurora website.