MU Theatre Society Performs ‘Miss Julie’ Play; Drama Ensues

Noah Proffitt

On Friday, Nov 4, the Theatre Society put on their play, “Miss Julie.” Staring Jacob Smith Derksen as Jean, Isabelle Robinson as Kristine, and Avery Stockwell as Miss Julie, the play was directed by Angelina Funk.

The play took place on top of the stage at Cordier, and unlike some of other Manchester plays, the audience sat around the play on the stage. Most of the play took place in a small square that resembles a small kitchen, and the audience sat on all sides of the square, seeing different angles of the performance.

During the play, the characters would open multiple beer bottles as they conversed with other characters. They were real bottles and could be heard popping when opened; one of the caps popped off so far that the cap rolled off the stage towards an empty chair, bringing the connection between audience and the stage closer together.

The play was not without its own drama. A few days before Friday’s performance, the actor that played Jean, Jacob Derksen, lost his voice “I’d never had anything like this happen to me before and I was really worried I wouldn’t be able to perform,” Derksen said.

Instead of giving up on the show and cancelling it, Angelina Funk came up with the idea of Derksen still performing all his parts but having Chris Rayment read all his lines from the back, behind where the audience was sitting.

Rayment is a community member and works at the Associate Senior Help Desk when he’s not helping with the theatre society. He’s also a husband and a farther of four children on top of all that. He and Derksen practiced days before their first night: Rayment was making sure that his line deliveries were going to fit and sound right with Derksen’s performance. “The greatest challenge was trying to know what inflection my voice should take and trying to keep an eye on the actor, Jacob, to make sure I was matching him,” he said. While Jacob practiced, he was making sure he matched his body performance with Rayment’s speaking and making sure Rayment got his French pronunciation correct.

The crew were able to keep up with the performance and still see it through. Hearing Rayment read the lines from the back and into Jean’s mouth was a bit off at first. But over time their performances made it seem like this was how the play was originally intended.

For Saturday and Sunday’s performances Derksen would speak his lines for the first time in front of audience. “I had some the opening night nerves for Saturday’s performance since it would be the first time,” he said. “I would be saying my own lines in about a week, and it was for an audience. But, as we got into it, I calmed down and preformed it like I knew I could.” Overall, the performance went well, and offered students and audience members a different experience then what they usually would experience in plays