They say you learn something new every day. “Aight,” you’re going, “but do you really?” I’m gonna go out on a limb now and say that that’s the basic premise of this here education: learning. But even if I’m generous and say that I learn something new every day I go to class or do something resembling homework, I’m not quite sure that I actually do the every day thing, unless the fact that my new total of incurred food charges on my student account is $8.17 more than it was yesterday counts as something new.
But I definitely learned something new today: boxers were around in the 1930s. (Perhaps this something wouldn’t have been new to the History of Fashion majors out there, but it certainly was to me. As far as I knew, boxers were invented, manufactured, and marketed right around the time when the boys I frequently saw in their scanties – my brother and a couple of key players from Hebrew School – passed out of the tighty whiteys stage.)
I learned this sitting in on a rehearsal for “The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek,” which runs at Theater Intime March 25-27 and April 1-3 (under the direction of Ruby Xuequn Pan ’06). With a title like that, I found myself seeking something, anything, that might lend itself to bodily-function jokes. And suddenly, there it is: full frontal non-nudity. Or, cast member Jeff Brown ’06, in his boxers. Yeah Jeff, rock out with your cock out. Except there will be none of that, because the man in fact sewed his fly shut to avoid rocking the audience. A pity, but Intime is a family venue, so there’s really no other way.
Here’s another thing I learned: people went down on each other during the earlier part of the 20th century. (Now is when we all try to forget ever having known our grandparents.) I haven’t taken History of Doin’ It (HIS 285), but I would wager that they didn’t talk about it the way the characters of Pope Lick do. The play is set in another time and yet is not a period piece: the Depression era is indicated by the details (clothing, technology, etc.), but the production still seems to be one that could be set anywhere, at any time. “Aight,” you’re going “that’s stupid; they messed up. Man, Intime sucks.” But you’re wrong. Such unfixedness is in exact accordance with playwright Naomi Wallace’s wishes; her instructions call for no accents, and no overalls. Perhaps we believe that everything is better with overalls, but I guess even the best playwrights make poor choices.
So, what is the play about, you wonder? “Trestle” is, as you may have gathered, set in a small town during the Great Depression; it focuses on the romance that develops between two teenagers, and what happens when they struggle to escape their circumstances. The issues dealt with are not only contemporary, but timeless. Cast member Amy Widdowson ’06 says that the play explores “parts of childhood that a lot of people try to repress but that are very, very important in how you form adult relations.” (Granted, her character spends most of the play saying “take your clothes off,” so her conception of adult relations may be a little closer to rape-while-splitting-infinitives – or eating club initiations – than the average person’s.)
Beyond that, the cast maintains that “sex is the theme of the show,” but even still I may be playing it up a bit for the sake of my hypothetical readership statistics. And so what? They say that sex sells. But just in case, here is something completely lacking in context: “I shit myself too many times.” –Jeff. Check it.
“The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek” runs March 25-27 and April 1-3, 8 pm with 2 pm matinee April 3, at Theatre Intime ($6 students, free with student events eligible Tiger tickets). And in other student theater news, “The Same Sea,” a Princeton Atelier presentation of Paul Binnerts’ adaptation of Amos Oz’s novel about everyday Israelis, runs March 25-27, 8 pm, at the Berlind – free!