The upcoming Texas Wesleyan University theater production, “Gruesome Playground Injuries” is the one to watch this weekend.
The play revolves around two childhood friends, Kayleen and Doug, and follows them throughout their lives from age 8 to 38. The two connect at different points in their lives and compare scars and physical calamities that keep drawing them together.
The two cast members in the show, Kirsten Wagner, and Lane Norris, talk about their background in theater and a little bit about their roles in the play.
Norris said his first performance was in a sixth-grade production of “Our Miss Brooks, A Christmas Carol,” where he played the principal.
“My mom told me that theatre, it’s like Halloween but every day and I was like ‘Really? This is something I got to at least try!’ So, I gave it a shot in sixth grade, and I’ve loved it ever since,” Norris said.
Norris said that the coolest thing about theater is the collaborative effort and the many different people he has met as a result of being a part of the theater community.
“Like, it’s not just ‘everyone’s a theater kid’ because everyone has just different things they’re good at and just different creative outlets that they use theater for,” Norris said.
Wagner first performed in a seventh-grade production of “The Little Mermaid,” where she played one of Ariel’s sisters.
“I didn’t know what to expect because I was in middle school and I was just trying new things, but… that’s when I kind of realized that I really enjoyed like acting, and singing, and dancing, and the performance aspect of things cause it was a really, really good time,” Wagner said.
Wagner said her theater role model is Josh Bland, a theater professor at TCC who solidified how much she loves theater.
“I thought I wasn’t going to do theater when I got in college, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to major in, and then I took his acting class and it really changed my mind… how welcoming and friendly he was and how he pushed us, really made him a role model for me,” Wagner said.
When discussing the show, Wagner and Norris said that the show’s vulnerability stands out to them the most and makes for a night of nice tender moments.
“I really love the vulnerability in this show, this show has a lot of really nice and tender moments and a lot of like no holds back and it shows, it gives the audience every angle. Like, honestly there’s a lot of vulnerable moments for us both as actors,” Norris said.
Wagner said she agreed with Norris and said that the vulnerability is the playwright and director’s way of inviting the audience into the characters’ lives.
“…It’s like you can never learn enough about these people, and you will never dig too deep because there’s so much to unfold,” Wagner said.
The play is set to premiere tomorrow, Nov. 6, and will be available the weekend of Nov. 7-8, starting at 7:30 p.m. in person, following mask and social-distancing guidelines, or as a live stream online. Be sure to buy your ticket!