SHERMAN, Tex.— The Austin College Communication Studies Department will present the dramatic production Ordinary People March 5, 6, and 7 at 7:30 p.m., and at 2 p.m. March 6 in the Beardsley Arena Theatre of Ida Green Communication Center. Tickets are available at the door for $8. Audience members should be aware the play deals with issues of depression and suicide.
The play is based on Judith Guest’s 1976 novel Ordinary People, which was made into a 1980 Academy Award-winning film. The Austin College production is directed by senior Joel Torres of Hereford, Texas. He said the play centers around Conrad Jarrett, a young man whose older brother has died in a sailing accident, which Conrad survived. The play begins after Conrad has spent eight months in a psychiatric hospital, having earlier attempted suicide. As Conrad returns to the real world, he struggles to make sense of himself and everyone around him. “We follow the footsteps of a young man, his friends and family, their relationships and their survival,” Torres said.
Junior Shane Gannaway of Austin, Texas plays Conrad Jarrett. Junior Paul Frederick of Longview, Texas, plays Cal Jarrett, Conrad’s father. Christiana Bay ’11 of Austin, Texas, plays the mother, Beth Jarrett. Austin Tooley ’09 of Sherman plays Conrad’s psychiatrist, Dr. Tyrone Berger. Tayyar Unal ’10 of Duncanville, Texas, is Coach Salan, Conrad’s swim coach. Elizabeth Webb ’10 of Olathe, Kansas, plays the role of Karen Aldrich, Conrad’s friend from the psychiatric hospital.
Joshua Gilbreath ’09 of Dallas has the role of Stillman, a member of Conrad’s school swim team. Taylor Browne ’11 of Austin, Texas plays Joe Lazenby, a school friend. Averie Bell ’09 of Fritch, Texas, plays Jeannine Pratt, Conrad’s girlfriend.
Torres is assisted on the production by junior Katie Marchant of Fort Worth, Texas, stage manager; sophomore Jeff Ridenour of Denison, assistant stage manager; junior Ann Nelson of San Antonio, Texas, prop master; junior Taylor Woods of Decatur, Texas, light design and engineer; sophomore Matt Varvir of Carrollton, Texas, sound engineer; and senior Brooks Burton of Sherman, set designer.
Austin College is a leading national independent liberal arts college located just north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas. Founded in 1849, making it the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original charter and name, the college is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA). Recognized nationally for academic excellence in the areas of international education, pre-professional training, and leadership studies, Austin College is one of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges that Change Lives.
Austin College Press Release