This past weekend audiences attended a play at Georgia Neese Gray Theatre in which the main character is invisible. “Last Seen,” written by Penny Weiner and directed by Sharon Sullivan, debuted at the Washburn Theatre Friday, Nov. 11. The play centers on a middle-aged woman, Isabel (Marianne Kearns), who believes she is becoming invisible to her friends, her psychiatrist and her spouse.
After the play was finished, the director, cast and playwright lined up on stage to answer questions from the audience.
“I never know what it’s going to look like. This didn’t look anything like I imagined. I had a million different visions in my head. I was very pleased and surprised with the production,” Weiner said during the discussion.
The production itself was extremely interesting and abstract. Tony Naylor, in charge of the set, lights and costume design, created an appropriate atmosphere with wonderful lighting, especially during transitions from one scene to another and a sparse set that aided the overall psychological feel of “Last Seen.”
“I wanted a kind of fluidity [in the play] so that each person in the audience could decide [where the scenes took place] and so we kept everything in the set minimalistic,” said Sullivan.
The minimalism on stage made it easy for the audience not to become distracted and focus on the subject matter within the script.
“It was very strange and a little obscure, but it did have good taste and meaningful undertones,” said Christina Pekrul, an undecided freshman. “I really liked the simplicity of the set.”
Pekrul said that the thing that made the play memorable for her was its intensity.
The actors were very involved in helping develop passion within the piece and the characters.
“We start with the psychological aspect of the character,” said Sullivan.
Then the actors were encouraged to incorporate their ideas and interpretations into the production.
“I told them to experiment, have fun, take risks and they were like, ‘Okay, where do I walk now?’ It took them about a week before they believed me,” said Sullivan.
“Last Seen” is really a play that allows for contemplation and interpretation from all parties involved including cast and audience as well as the director and writer.
“There’s a commonality of feeling with every woman in the play, I think,” said Kearns.
Kearns went on to talk about the fear and feeling of invisibility that pervades the entire piece.
“It’s like a friend of mine was telling me. She said that she hates going into bars now because no one tries to pick her up,” said Kearns. “One of the great things about getting a role about a woman your age is…I could relate a great deal to her fears and anxieties and people ignoring her. I appreciate how she felt.”
Although the play is deeply moving and enjoyable, there are parts that can be confusing when a person first views or reads “Last Seen.”
“To be honest, the first time I read it I was confused,” said Marcus Miller, who played Mr. Burgess. “But then it made sense and that’s what’s so great about this play. It’s not one of those things that you can watch and know what’s going to happen.”
“Last Seen” will be at the Georgia Neese Gray Theatre at 8 p.m. Nov. 18 and 19, and 2 p.m. Nov. 20. Students who bring their iCards get in free.