Jackie Apodaca directs “The Drunken City” by Adam Bock, now playing at Southern Oregon University’s Center Square Theatre. Cesar Perez Rosas and Samuel L. Wick play Frank and Eddie, two young bar-crawlers who hook up with three girls on a bride/bachelorette party binge. Perez Rosas and Wick are both in their fifth year at SOU, pursuing bachelor of fine arts degrees. Both will be interns at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival next fall. The three of us met at Starbucks near the SOU Campus.
EH: Tell me about the play.
JA: Thematically, it’s about identity, what happens when you’re on a path, and you realize that it’s not the right one. Occasionally, the role that you’re playing will smack up against who you are or what you really want to do. In this case we’re looking at bride-mania.
I believe that now, women in our culture are under a great deal of pressure to play the role of being a bride, walking down the aisle and bringing everyone’s expectations to life as they fulfill that role. Although I did discover that spending on weddings has not increased over the last five or six years, from about 1989 to about 1995, there was a huge run-up where it quadrupled. Now on average, in this country, people spend about $22,000 on their wedding. It was about six or seven grand in the late ’80s, so it did a big jump, but now it has sort of settled.
There are so many TV shows or reality shows or movies about weddings: “Say Yes to the Dress” and then: “Amazing Wedding Cakes.” There about five different wedding planning shows. And there are a bunch of shows that are devoted to bad brides: brides behaving badly or gaining too much weight, so it screws-up their wedding; horrible, horrible things. We’re fascinated by the beauty and the fancy side, and then the horrid failure of people who didn’t achieve their Cinderella moment.
With every play, I like to have some sort of experience, outside of the rehearsal process, to contextualize what we’re doing. With this, we went bridal shopping. We put the three girls, who are engaged, in wedding dresses. Just because of our culture, just because of what a wedding dress means, they had the experience of, “What is this?” They planned their weddings and brought in collages of their colors and their venue. It was important for them to investigate that.
EH: And did you take the boys barhopping?
JA: We did actually go to a bar one night and look for drunken people, just to observe their behavior, how they stand .…
CPR: And how they jump from emotion to emotion on a dime.
EH: What do you find is unique about acting and theater?
CPR: My mind is always on, “How can I tell this story from my perspective as truthfully as possible?”
SW: When you can almost reach out and touch a person or connect with a person, being in the same room, hearing them breathe and react on a much more intimate level, somehow gets the message home more easily.
CPR: That’s why I like to go and see theater too. I like to see people right in front of me giving it to me. In certain moments you can feel the room go, “Wow,” and everyone relates to that one moment. It’s the sheer truth that you can expect, whenever you go to see theater.