Kathleen Cahill said she was persuaded by friends to student-direct “Ludlow Fair,” the last offering in the Gannon University theater department’s Mini-Fringe Festival.
Cahill, who directed “The Audience” last fall, which was penned by senior theatre and communication arts major Lisa Lamperski, said she does not regret taking their advice because it’s a job she enjoys.
“I love directing and I love theatre, so why not?” she said.
“Ludlow Fair” is the story of two very different roommates. Rachel is a neurotic serial-dater with a bad taste in men, and Agnes is a wise-cracking loner who thinks Rachel needs to woman-up.
Cahill said their bond is as strong as their differences. “Everyone has that one person that they can go through tough decisions with,” she said. “You might not see eye to eye, but in the end, you take care of each other.”
Allison Kessler, a sophomore theater and communication arts major, plays angry Agnes. She said that although in some ways the lonely girl is very different from her, she appreciates her attitude toward dating.
“I don’t think somebody needs to be in a relationship 24/7 either,” she said.
Freshman French and international business major Sarah Sgro said her character, Rachel, has sort of a mental breakdown during the show.
“She’s nutty and kind of shallow, and she more often than not ignores Agnes,” she said.
Sgro said she enjoys playing Rachel because she is nothing like her in real life.
“I like the challenge of her character,” she said. “It’s an interesting perspective for me.”
Sgro said her real-life friendship with Kessler makes it easy to convey one on stage. “She’s an outstanding actress,” Sgro said. “We’re pretty close, so we didn’t have to work too hard on seeming like we live together.”
Kessler was equally effusive about her fellow cast member. “She is a sweetheart and a lot of fun to work with,” Kessler said.
Kessler said Cahill’s veteran-actor status makes her an understanding and detail-oriented director. One example she gave was of a time during practice when Cahill had Sgro open and dictionary to look for a word. When she was done, she pointed out that when Sgro pretended to do that as Rachel in the play, it should take the same amount of time she just used. That way the action would look realistic.
Kessler said the small cast also makes this production reach a more detailed and intimate level. “You’re able to define the relationship with actors and characters a lot easier,” she said.
Sgro said she found the cast size challenging, because it put more pressure on her, but she said with that has come one of the best experiences in her acting life.
“Ludlow Fair” is the final production in the Mini-Fringe festival, whose proceeds will help support the theater department’s trip to the International Collegiate Theatre Festival, to be held in Edinburgh, Scotland. Cahill said she is excited for what she calls an incredible opportunity, which only 14 other schools have a chance to participate in.
“I could not be more excited for the Schuster Theatre and am so proud of all the work everyone has put in to make this trip more than a possibility,” she said.