SVSU Black Box
7:30pm June 12-15
$10, $7 students and seniors(989) 964-4261
by Janet I. Martineau
Three everyday people with a lot of baggage will take viewers on a journey of healing when Saginaw Valley State University opens “Summer Snow,” its second summer show, on Tuesday, June 12.
“Some people might consider it a dated piece since it is set right after the Vietnam War and deals with a loss there,” says director David Rzeszutek, an SVSU assistant professor of theatre.
|Cassidy Morey and David Ryan in "Strange Snow"|
“But stop and think about it....every generation deals with a war, a conflict. We all know somebody involved in Iraq, Afghanistan if not Vietnam. There is a truth in this play that deals with all that.
"And I also see it as a sweet play because it is about everyday people (a mechanic, a truck driver and a teacher) and how they are dealing with their issues.”
Written by American film director and screenwriter Stephen Metcalfe, "Strange Snow" was adapted into the 1998 film "Jacknife," starring Robert DeNiro, Ed Harris and Kathy Bates.
In its storyline, it is 5 a.m. on the first day of the fishing season and Megs (played by sophomore David Ryan of Prescott) is determined to get his buddy up.
But buddy David (played by junior Rustin Myers of Beckenridge) has a terrible hangover -- one that is not entirely from last night's drinking.
Megs and David served together in Vietnam, and both are still feeling guilty about the death over there of their best friend Bobby. The three had always spent the first day of the fishing season together.
Depressed and alcoholic David, who also incurred battlefield injuries, lives with his sister Martha (played by freshman Cassidy Morey from Saginaw), a high school biology teacher who is enjoying a budding romance with the delightful Megs.
Together, the two endeavor to convince David he has to get past the war and get on with life.
“So we know the two guys are dealing with the baggage of their death of their friend,’” says Rzeszutek. “As for Martha, her dad died and her mom left, she is taking care of her brother, and when she was younger she was an ugly, heavy girl and has low self-esteem.
“So all three are coming to terms with this baggage one way or another, just as the people in our audience also have baggage of some sort, whatever it us, and will go on this journey of healing with them.”
Despite it all sounding overly dramatic, Rzeszutek assures there are moments of comedy and romance -- and a trip down memory lane into the mid 1970s.
“The script is set in the 1980s but I have moved it to 1975 (the year the war ended). That makes it more immediate rather than a 10-year gap from the ending of the war -- done for me and for the set, and the fact my cast is younger.
“1975 is fun and gives Jerry Dennis (the set builder) something to work with -- the Love Is comic series, needlepoint and latchwork, owls.”
Rzeszutek chose the play “because it is a really good character piece for students to work on. I have seen tremendous growth in all three during rehearsals in making their characters 3D, not caricatures.”
He also added another challenge. Since the script was vague about where the play is set, Rzeszutek set it in Lowell, Mass., “so they are also having to work on dialect.”
As for the strange title, Rzeszutek notes that “a white blanket of fresh snow covers up other things.”