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Natural Selection: Interviews with Cast and Director

Stephanie DePrez | Sunday, February 21, 2010

Scene had a chance to interview the actors and director behind the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center’s most recent student production, “Natural Selection.” Scene was fortunate enough to pick the brains of the thespians behind the play, including director, Tim Hardy, a visiting professor who’s been here before as part of the Actors From The London Stage, Eddie Velasquez, a senior theatre major who plays Zhao, and Kevin Barsaloux, a sophomore theatre major who plays Henry Carson.

What’s the most exciting part of “Natural Selection?”
Tim Hardy: It’s entertaining. It’s a comedy. It’s America in the future, where we’re totally dependent upon gizmos and nothing is real anymore. It’s what happens when we go too far in that direction.
Kevin Barsaloux: The most exciting part for me has been working with so many talented people. Everyone involved has been fantastic and every aspect of the show is coming together in a great way. Also, Eric Coble, the playwright, is coming to the Friday performance, so that’s really exciting.
What kind of show is it?
TH: I am from Britain, and this is a totally American piece, but comedy is international and I’ve loved it because it has entirely American rhythms, which I think we’ve found. It is very un-English, in the writing and delivery of it.
KB: To demonstrate that, my character is a wimpy nerdy guy who’s really into Native American history and legend which is why he has his job: head of the Native American Tribal Pavilion at Wonder World’s Culture Fiesta.

What challenges have you faced?
KB: One of the challenges has been getting used to the clothes of the future and doing quick changes taking the clothes from my belt, which is like a 360-degree fanny pack. Yes the costumes are awesome, and I totally hope this is where fashion trends are going because you never really know when you’ll need a safari jacket.
Eddie Velasquez: The first time we tried using the food [on stage], we were all extremely nervous about how the scene would play out, and we ended up making a mess but having a blast.

What’s the most interesting aspect of this performance?
TH: I’ve just enjoyed getting nine terrific actors and letting them lose.
EV: There are many extremely ridiculous moments onstage, as the whole play is an absolute riot. Perhaps the most ridiculous involves eating, but I don’t want to give the scene away.
KB: Two words: Sloppy Joes.
What do you want to audience to go away thinking?
KB: Mmmm, the guy who played Henry Carson, I wonder if he’s single.’ Really though, I think it’s kind of epitomized by what the character Zhao says during the play. The main point I guess would be, ‘Study the past. Move toward the future.’
EV: I would like the audience to leave with a sense of enjoyment but also with a realization of the strong messages of the show. Eric Coble has written the play as a commentary on current American ideals, and the audience stands to gain positively from the moral of the play.

What would you tell people interested in seeing the show?
TH: (kidding): It’s about sex, drugs and rock and roll.
KB: Anything I could say here is overshadowed by the sheer hilarity of the show, which is why everyone should come see it.