Students to perform in coming-of-age play
Selena Ponio | Wednesday, March 1, 2017
The debut performance of Notre Dame’s film, television and theatre department’s production of “I and You” takes place Wednesday at DeBartolo Performing Arts Center (DPAC).
The play by Lauren Gunderson, recently named the “most-produced playwright in America” by American Theatre magazine, follows the adventures of 17-year old Caroline, a young girl confined to her room due to illness, and her unexpected friendship with her classmate, Anthony.
Senior Mary Patano, who plays Caroline in the production, said the best part about her role is getting to play a character who is “so authentically herself.”
“Caroline makes up for her physical weakness with an overactive use of language, specifically using sarcasm and self-deprecation to make herself feel better,” Patano said. “What I like most about Caroline is that she is kind of unlikeable. She’s annoying in the way most 17-year-olds are, and can be a little bit of a brat sometimes. But this is juxtaposed by her passion for photography, Elvis and waffle fries.”
Patano said this play in particular is incredibly applicable to the lives of young adults. She said the story of Caroline and Anthony demonstrate two people who were wary of each other initially but bonded more strongly with each new discovery about the other.
“I think it’s important to tell the story that when you get to know people and look past what you initially see or think you see, you have the chance to form a relationship you never thought possible,” Patano said.
“I and You” is relatable in that a lot of the worries and anxieties felt by young adults materialize on stage, Patano said.
“We’re on the cusp of real responsibilities, and oftentimes feeling so much pressure to succeed in what is expected of us we forget we’re supposed to be having fun along the way, and that’s what this play does,” Patano said. “It reminds everyone to keep in tune to the stupid silly things that we love and will be with us even as we grow up,” she said.
The two-person show — which also stars junior Eric Ways as Anthony — has been challenging, Patano said, because the two actors have essentially memorized an entire play between them.
“This was pretty daunting at the beginning of the process, but since we’ve been running it we’ve gotten a chance to feel how everything fits together for the first time, which has been pretty cool,” Patano said.
Patano said during her time at Notre Dame she has realized that a lot of the art can feel like “a stretch” for students. She said there’s a geographical challenge as well, since DPAC is so far from where most people live, and often walking to the venue to watch a play you’re unsure about can seem like a large request.
“I believe ‘I and You’ is the perfect combination of quirky teenage comedy blended with the sincerity and fear of what happens when you grow up, and will be something students will be excited to see,” she said. “I promise, it’ll be worth the walk.”