I LOL’d

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(From left to right) Tyler Toppings, Jessie Grant, Robyn Sanderson, and Cydney Forbes on stage in The Actor’s Nightmare.

L-R: Tyler Toppings, Jessie Grant, Robyn Sanderson, and Cydney Forbes on stage in The Actor’s Nightmare.

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Article: Robyn Tocker – A&C Editor

It’s opening night for the University of Regina Theatre Department’s play LOL. Coming under the presumption acquiring tickets wouldn’t be an issue, I walk up to the box office and flash my student ID. Wait, what? You’re sold out? No way! People haven’t shown up to claim their tickets? Okay, I’ll wait.

That is how my night started on March 7. Luck prevailed and I managed to get in to see one of the funniest plays I have witnessed.

LOL, directed by Gerold Lenton-Young, is a play with three one-act comedies performed under one roof. Before witnessing the play, I sat down with one of the actresses, Laura Abramsen. Out of the three acts, she plays Eileen, the wife in the trio of late-arrivals in Audience, and Amanda Wingvalley, a southern belle with two difficult sons in For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls.

Abramsen says the play is great because, “it’s one of the rare times when more than one senior student really gets to show off what they’re made of.”

“It’s when everyone is feeding off each other’s energy and it really starts to bring about new energy,” she said.

Abramsen started acting in high school. In her second year of social work at the University of Saskatchewan, she decided she couldn’t resist the urge to get back into theatre and came to the U of R to pursue her passion.

Abramsen refers to the acts as “three short doses of comedy,” which is as refreshing as it sounds.

Back to the play: Audience was first in line, and oh man did it get me laughing. At first it was awkward. The cast was in seats like ours and staring at us, just like we were staring at them. Then they began to say things like “I wish they’d stop staring” and “What the hell are they thinking?” It wasn’t long before we were laughing at the antics of the theatre goers.

Very quickly you could see the “types” of audience members. You had someone who questioned everything, one who couldn’t stop coughing at one point, someone who fell asleep, a cell phone going off, and many more. By putting all these over-exaggerated antics together, you ended up with a hilarious play.

The Actor’s Nightmare takes the angle from actor George Spelvin, played by Tyler Toppings. He believes he is an accountant and has no idea what play they are doing. The stage manager, played by Jessie Grant, feeds him lines while she pretends to be a maid on stage, but his bumbling over what play they are in, and the fact that the play switches between three completely different stories makes it even more hilarious.

For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls jumps right in to a play about a mother who just wants her sons to live normal lives. Lawrence, played by Andrew Ibacache, is a little…strange. When his brother Tom, played by Michael Kiapway, brings home Ginny in hopes of setting her up with Lawrence, things quickly go from bad to worse.

Unlike the other plays, this one is more serious. The laughs are still there, but while watching I felt pity for Lawrence and Tom as well as a connection to the mother. Her dreamer qualities came through amazingly, even though Abramsen says this was the hardest character to play, since she is nothing like an old southern mama.

All in all, the play was a joy to see. I would recommend it to anyone looking to literally LOL. From March 12-15, you can see the play at 7:30 p.m. at the Shu-Box Theatre.

Image: Gerald Lenton-Young

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