Mon. Oct 26th, 2020

The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

UMW Theatre highlights the complex beauty of “Ordinary Days”

3 min read

Jackson Miles and Lydia Hundley. (Geoff Greene)

By LINDSEY BROWN

Staff Writer

UMW Theatre’s production of “Ordinary Days” is the one of the best shows I have ever seen. There is a relatable quality to each character, and the songs address the innermost thoughts and worries people have in the ordinary days of life.

The 2008 musical was written by Adam Gwon, and it is a comedy, but I am not going to lie, I
teared up a bit during the show. The only instrument played is the piano, which gives it a simplistic quality, as each character expresses how they are trying to find their place in the world while living in New York City.

The cast is small, and focuses on the lives of four people, two of which are a couple. The couple consists of Jason, played by senior Jackson Miles, and Claire, played by senior Lydia Hundley. They are at an impasse in their relationship when they decide to move in together. They struggle with combining their lives in one apartment and getting rid of the material items that make up their past. Jason is sure that Claire is the right woman for him, but he feels that she is unsure of him. It is more than getting rid of her things that Claire is having a hard time with; her pain comes from a terrible accident that happened years ago.

Deb, played by sophomore Riley Salazar, and Warren, played by sophomore Justin Flemming meet in a strange turn of events when Deb leaves her notes for her college thesis in the park and Warren finds them. Deb is a frustrated grad student, still unsure of what she really wants to do in life. It takes Warren, a struggling artist/professional cat sitter, to give her some true perspective.

The music in this show is what really made it so great. The lines were well written, witty, and they left the audience invested in the story throughout the entire show. The simple quality of the piano playing with each piece helped the lines and the personas of the characters stand out more.

“Gotta Get Out” was probably one of the most relatable songs I’ve ever heard in a musical. “I’ll Be Here” explains Claire’s past and its impact on her current life, and it is a tearjerker. Any songs sung by Deb are funny and real. That is the key point in this musical– it is very real, and there is nothing ordinary about the music.

The set was very simple. It was stationary, and consisted of a shadow of a cityscape of New York in the background. A textured gray frame outlined the cityscape, and by the end of the show, the quote, “the big picture” seemed to portray why the set was designed this way. The lighting brought the whole scene together, as the mixture of colors on the cityscape gave off the different emotions the characters were feeling throughout the play.

This is the third show I have seen Hundley in at UMW, and it was my favorite. She really came into her own in this role. She is also a very talented singer, and did every song in the show justice.

Hundley said, “This is a great final hurrah in Klein [Theatre]; it’s a gorgeous show. I am so grateful to be a part of this, with the three other people, they really helped bring this cast to light. Two of the others are sophomores, and it was really cool to see them step up to where I was my sophomore year. It is really cool to see the growth of other students in this department.”

Miles is also a senior this year at UMW, though this is not his final show.

“This show was very interesting to play because it is very rare in musical theatre to play a character that is so close to our actual ages. It is also very intimate, with a four person cast. It has been a fun process. Being able to share the character’s life story was very personal,” said Miles.

Overall the show is not just relatable, but it also is a feel-good show. It leaves the audience with the sense that life is hard but no one is alone in the struggles and worries that come with everyday. The show will run from Feb. 13-23 in Klein Theatre.

Follow me on Twitter

SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLUE & GRAY PRESS

Enter your email address to subscribe to The Blue & Gray Press to receive the latest news at the University of Mary Washington.