By Jeff Clemens
Being a kid is tough. With poison-wielding babysitters, piles of homework and the obvious awkwardness when dealing with the opposite sex, it’s amazing that anybody manages to make it to adulthood. It’s this time in life that playwright Jason Patrick Rothery presents in TheatreBOOM’s remount of his popular play Wedgie. While the theme is juvenile, Wedgie‘s story is actually very mature, using comedy and offbeat settings to explore real-world politics and coming of age.
“I find that comedy is the best way to deliver medicine,” explains Rothery. “Through comedy you can entertain people and educate them at the same time.”
Taking place on May 16, 1990, the day famed children’s entertainer Jim Henson died, Wedgie presents the death of childhood, the end of decade and the birth of a new era. Chock-full of pop culture and mythology the play fully immerses viewers in the world of young children.
“It’s a lot of fun being in this play,” explains U of C alumna and cast member Julie Orton. “All of us went out to play tag just to help get into the role. I’m also doing a production of Macbeth and it’s nice to be able to go from a serious role to the comedic one.”
The fifth presentation of Wedgie is its biggest yet, featuring 25 cast members. Previous performance runs would typically have a smaller cast, with each actor playing two or three different characters. The larger cast allows for a greater diversity of character, with each child being given their own identities and own actor to portray them.
“I think that this time with the larger cast they were able to pick people for each specific role,” Orton explains. “It was good that way because it allowed for a great character development.”