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The Waiting Room

After Oklahoma! success, School of Music, Theatre and Dance presents darker production

Staff Writer

Published: Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Updated: Tuesday, October 19, 2010 12:10


The Carolinian: Coming after the chipper musical “Oklahoma!”  And timed for late fall, just how dark can we expect the upcoming play “The Waiting Room” to be?

Catherine Delaney:  It is a little dark, but it uses humor to deal with tough issues.  Moments of comedy keep this play from becoming too heavy.

TC: Without giving away the plot, it does involve plastic surgery.  How does Waiting Room speak to body image questions?

CD:  The plays deals with three different women from different time periods, going all the way from Chinese foot-bonding practices, to the Victorian use of corsets to our modern day plastic surgery.  It says a lot that we can see foot-binding and corsets as barbaric practices but someday, someone will write a play about the way we treat our bodies today.

TC:  From Chinese foot-binding to modern day ‘elective surgery,’ that covers a lot of ground.  How is it accomplished dramatically?

CD:  All three women interact, they are often in the same places.  There is a strange sort of timewarp, which is a convention of the play and is used to show how each of three deal with their body issues and each other.

TC:   How specific is this to the inner life of women?  Will men be interested to see the play?

CD:  I think so, absolutely.  I’ve never been much of a feminist.  This is a part of feminist theatre but men can certainly relate.  Its an interesting look into the issue.  Even if men aren’t as sensitive themselves to body image, they are surrounded by girlfriends, wives, mothers.  I’ve seen the play before and this is being done much differently.

TC:  You saw a professional performance?

CD:  Actually it was at Appalachian state and directed by a feminist.  This time its directed by a male, John Gulley.  He’s done a wonderful job of dealing with the lives of three actual women rather than just making it a piece of political theatre.  He has brought in women to advise him, however.

And you asked about the timing of the play earlier, I think it is perfect.  This is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and there is a campus-wide “love your body campaign.”

TC:  Doesn’t plastic surgery suggest how hard it is, really, to love your body?

CD:  I’ve had to face my own issues.  Its tempting to sinch the corset a little tighter each time.  The most important thing is to be alive and happy, not to be looking in the mirror.  We did some research before rehersal even began, looking at advertisement images of women, men and couples.  We have to broaden our concept of beauty.  If we embrace ourselves the media will embrace us.

TC:  “Waiting Room” runs through October 31, what do we look forward to next?

CD:  Alice comes next, its for a younger audience and is a reimagining of “Alice in Wonderland” with a hip-hop twist.

TC:  Thanks for talking to The Carolinian, sounds like “Waiting Room” is a play not to miss.

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