‘Reality’ play comes to FDU’s Barn Theater
“Reality,” a comedic, slightly dramatic play about the truth of reality TV, will take the stage of the Barn’s black box theater this weekend.
Reality shows are addicting to watch. They are dramatic, comedic and ironic. Not many people know what happens once the cameras stop rolling or after the season comes to an end. “Reality” is a show about what happens during the commercial breaks and on the hiatuses.
“‘Reality’ is about the concept of reality TV shows and how they distort our perception of ‘reality,’ and the complex nature of what it means for something to be true,” said Sam Hapner-Goldman, who plays Josh. “It explores the concept of words and how they can’t truly convey emotions properly.”
The play centers around a reality show called “Looking for Love” and two former contestants, Annie and Matt. Amanda Dunsdon plays Annie and explained that Annie and Matt’s “love story is less than a happily ever after.” She said that, “with their relationship on the mend, show producer Josh and fame-hungry actress Krisandra create yet another obstacle for the two lovers to face on their road to happiness.”
Hapner-Goldman described the show as a comedy with dramatic elements. He also noted that the show “becomes very dramatic towards the end.”
Unlike almost all of the large-cast shows performed in the Dreyfuss Theater, “Reality” only has four characters in the play. Dunsdon explained that the show “fits perfectly” in the black box theater because of its small cast size and simple set. The other actors in the cast, aside from Dunsdon and Hapner-Goldman, are Angelica Adams and Joe Piserchio.
Piserchio plays Matt, the bachelor on “Looking for Love.”
“It’s funny,” he explained, “Matt is unlike me in a lot of ways, but what I would say is that what made it easy for me to relate to the character was his heart and his vulnerability.”
Dunsdon plays opposite of Piserchio as Annie, who she said is “a very sweet ‘girl-next-door’” with a “big heart.” Dunsdon said that she can relate to this character a lot.
“She has a big dream about what love is and is an incurable romantic,” she explained. “Like me, I truly believe in the idea of love and finding a soulmate. I believe in fate and people coming together for a reason.”
She added that both she and her character have the “stubborn desire” to make their dreams come true.
Hapner-Goldman said his character is “obsessed with his job and very dedicated to this show.” He said that Josh describes himself as a “workaholic” and an “asshole.”
Hapner-Goldman said he is not as devious as his character, but that they both have a “desire for perfection” and a “hunger for success.”
With the show opening so soon, the cast and crew have spent a lot of time together getting ready. Dunsdon said that they have become “a small family.”
In addition to rehearsing, the cast has bonded a lot and has even researched reality TV and looked into the psychology of it. “We have done workouts for this show: games for cast bonding, and even had interviews with a former reality TV star from ‘Survivor’ and the lighting designer from ‘Project Runway,’” Dunsdon said.
Alberto Bonilla, the director of the show, has been with the cast and crew through the entire journey. Piserchio said Bonilla is “an absolute genius” and had “a very clear vision of what he wanted from this show” since the first read-through.
Hapner-Goldman described Bonilla as “remarkable.”
He noted that because Bonilla is also an actor, he is able to give the cast perspectives from both sides.
“His insight into the nuances and subtle subtext of the show have been an invaluable resource for the whole cast. And not once have I felt stuck, thanks to his amazing directing,” said Hapner-Goldman.
The actors are prepared for the opening of the show, and they can’t wait for the audience to see it.
“I want people to follow each character’s journey, and understand their reason for going on a reality TV show, and what can happen when people’s ultimate personality comes out to the extreme,” said Dunsdon.
Piserchio also said he wants the audience to focus on the characters by seeing them for who they really are.
“They’re all so complex, and we spent a lot of time [doing and discussing] character work and really understanding these characters as people,” he explained.
Piserchio also said that the audience should be fully engaged in the story during the show. “With the Barn theater being such an intimate space, I think the audience will feel like they are part of the story.”
Hapner-Goldman hopes the audience walks away understanding the “concept of fickle reality” and that everything is not as it seems.
“The message of this show is that what we see and what we are told aren’t always the truth,” he explained. “It tells us that if we want to know the truth, we have to go out and make it ourselves. You can’t rely on anyone but yourself to make your fantasies into reality.”
“Reality” will be performed in the Barn Theater from Friday, April 15, to Monday, April 18. More dates may be added.
Tickets for students, faculty and senior citizens are $6, while all others are $12.
For more information about the show or tickets, e-mail email@example.com.