"This is Our Youth "contains adult themes that may not be suitable for all ages.
The University of South Carolina Dept. of Theatre and Dance will present Kenneth Lonergan’s hard-hitting drama This is Our Youth March 24-27, 2022 at the Lab Theatre.
Showtime is 8pm nightly. Tickets are $10 and are available online. In keeping with university safety protocols, masks will be required of all audience members, actors and crew, and seating will be limited to allow for appropriate social distancing between all patrons. The Lab Theatre is located at 1400 Wheat St. on the first floor of the Booker T. Washington building.
Three privileged young adults experience 48 fateful hours at the dawn of the materialistic Reagan Era in this uncompromising play by Academy Award-winning author Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea). After stealing $15,000 from his tycoon father, 19-year-old Warren turns for help to his slightly older, drug-dealing friend, Dennis. As they concoct a scheme to buy cocaine with the stolen funds and resell it for profit, Warren falls for fashion student Jessica, threatening both the plan and their lives. Brutally frank and honest, This is Our Youth is a still-relevant portrayal of young people coming of age in a world they aren’t yet equipped to navigate.
This Is Our Youth is rich and sad and wry in its cruel-to-be-kind portrayal of disillusioned adolescents... How do you put away childish things, it asks, when you aren’t ready to pick up adult ones?”
Senior theatre major John Reynolds is at the helm as director of the play, whose themes he says transcend its early 1980s setting.
“It’s a great show for a college campus,” Reynolds says. “That’s especially true for people who are graduating and about to figure out who they are in the real world. For the characters in the play, there’s a lot of reflection on what they want to do, who they are and what their hopes are.”
The generational similarities are also present in the characters’ drug-affected lifestyles, Reynolds says. “I read a study that said fentanyl was the number one killer of people 18 to 45 in this past year,” he explains. “These vices are still a way young people cope with becoming an adult in a world they don’t really know.”
Reynolds is making his directorial debut with This is Our Youth, having previously assistant directed UofSC productions of Rumors by Neil Simon and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. He says his overarching rule is to simply let Lonergan’s expertly crafted script shine.
“I feel like my job is to not overdirect it,” Reynolds says. “There are moments of high emotion in this show, so it’s just about building up to those moments in a way that really highlights them.”
“These characters are based on real people Lonergan knew,” he adds. “We’re trying to honor that and be as authentic as possible.”
Cast in the production are undergraduate theatre majors John Boulay (Warren), Koby Hall (Dennis) and Caroline McGee (Jessica). Assisting in the technical areas are theatre majors Logan Brodfuehrer (Scenic Design/Stage Management), Brooks Beaty (Lighting Design), Maddie Niles (Sound Design) and M.F.A. design student Andrew Burns (Costume Design).
“It’s a show that tells a very human story that makes you think about your own life,” Reynolds says. “I hope it leaves the audience thinking more critically about who they are with the people they care about.”
For more information on This is Our Youth or the theatre program at the University of South Carolina, contact Kevin Bush by phone at 803-777-9353 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.