Theater play portrays ‘Pains of Youth’

Troubled seductress Desiree (sophomore Jessica Wotherspoon) attempts to relax her best friend Marie (freshman Alicia Hester) by provocatively dancing to erotic music. Throughout the play "Pains of Youth," the two have an on-again, off-again intimate relationship. / photo by Christie Reed
Troubled seductress Desiree (sophomore Jessica Wotherspoon) attempts to relax her best friend Marie (freshman Alicia Hester) by provocatively dancing to erotic music. Throughout the play “Pains of Youth,” the two have an on-again, off-again intimate relationship. / photo by Christie Reed

by Shiva Rahimi
photography by Christie Reed

University of La Verne Theater presented “Pains of Youth” on the main stage of the Dailey Theatre April 30 through May 8.

The play was written by Ferdinand Bruckner, an Austrian who began writing plays in post-World War I Germany. His plays were primarily based around the current social problems which were present during a time of disillusionment and pessimism.

“Pains of Youth” was directed by Georgij Paro and has a total of seven members in the cast. Cast members include: freshman Alicia Hester (Marie); sophomore Jessica Wotherspoon (Desiree); Katherine Przyblyska (Irene); junior LaVelle Wilson (Freder); senior Michael Medford (Petrell); junior Tom Moese (Alt), and Jennifer Holindrake (Lucy).

Because there were only seven characters, Paro said, “They needed to be present, focused and strong at all times.”

“Youth is always youth,” said Paro. The play was written in 1926, the social problems and issues of that time are still relevant in what one may find in today’s society. Issues of life, death, love and hate are included, and topics of alcohol, relationships, homosexuality, bisexuality and prostitution are explored.

M. Elizabeth Pietrzak, technical director, prepares the light board prior to one of the pre-performance run-throughs with assistance from senior Chryseis Alexander, light board operator. / photo by Christie Reed
M. Elizabeth Pietrzak, technical director, prepares the light board prior to one of the pre-performance run-throughs with assistance from senior Chryseis Alexander, light board operator. / photo by Christie Reed

The play begins with Marie preparing for her own high school graduation party. The party is toiled by Marie finding out her boyfriend Petrell is involved with Irene. Marie is then befriended and seduced by Desiree, who helped her discover a part of her sexuality she had never explored. In the meantime, a distant friend, Freder, brainwashes the modest maid Lucy to enter the world of prostitution. Desiree also wants to be in Lucy’s world but is denied the chance by Marie. Desiree takes her own life, with the assistance of Freder, because she was denied her wishes of becoming a prostitute. Marie lost her lover and her boyfriend, and the play concludes with her having the option to take her own life.

The conclusion of the play was written in two different ways by Bruckner, but Paro put together his own version.

“It was nice working with a very talented group of actors and actresses,” said Paro.

“Although they are still students, there were moments that they could have been preforming in a professional theater,” he added.

From an actor’s standpoint, Wilson, a theater major said, “Georgij forces qualities in you as an actor that you have no idea that you have ever had.

“Georgij gave us the directions for the show to be a show. However, the final result for the show to be a success, was that the actors and actresses put in their own individual talents to bring out the essence of the show.”

The play had a plot that seemed similar to what one may find on a daytime soap opera or a heated talk show. It was entertaining and included topics that could be relevant to people in today’s society.

“This was a play which may seem pessimistic, but it was also very honest,” Paro said.

Tom Moese, junior exchange student from Germany, touches up his makeup before the May 8 performance, while senior Michael Medford gets into costume. Moese played the character of Alt, a friend of the four main characters, and Medford played the role of the charming womanizer Petrell. / photo by Christie Reed
Tom Moese, junior exchange student from Germany, touches up his makeup before the May 8 performance, while senior Michael Medford gets into costume. Moese played the character of Alt, a friend of the four main characters, and Medford played the role of the charming womanizer Petrell. / photo by Christie Reed

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