Theatre presents the iconic coming-of-age story, “The Outsiders”
Ponyboy's journey from boyhood to manhood took place in the 1960s, yet his struggles and challenges still resonate with readers of the book "The Outsiders," by S. E. Hinton. Dr. John Taylor, professor of theatre, directs a stage adaptation of the classic youth novel on the Adams State University Theatre Main Stage. The play opens for the general public on Saturday, April 26.
The play features such iconic characters as Darry, Sodapop, Two-Bit, Dallas, and Cherry who have touched generations of individuals who have read the book and seen the 1983 movie, directed by Francis Ford Copula. Taylor said: "I chose this play because it resonates with audiences of all ages, but especially teenagers and young adults"
Ponyboy, the youngest of three brothers whose parents have died in a car accident, narrates the coming-of-age tale as he navigates the difficult journey into adulthood while trying to "stay gold." From the "wrong side of the tracks" Ponyboy and his friends, the Greasers, face constant battles with their rivals, the Socs, the rich kids from better neighborhoods.
"The action of the play careens between hope and despair, violence and love as we watch to see which values will win out," Taylor said. "Will the Greasers and Socs find a way to overcome the cycle of violence and learn to understand and see each other as individuals? These themes are as relevant today as they were in 1967 when the book was published."
Senior theatre major John Hauser plays Ponyboy. "I love the show and the themes of friendship represented in the story. The other actors and I are work out together before each rehearsal. As part of the rehearsal process, we wanted to create offstage the same sense of brotherhood that we experience onstage as the characters."
For the production, Taylor asked senior theatre major Caty Herrick to be his assistant director. "It is a huge honor to work alongside Dr. Taylor and be in on the decision making process." Among her tasks was to help him stage the final rumble scene between the Greasers and the Socs. "When I tell people I am helping direct The Outsiders, they tell me how much they love that story," Herrick added.
Taylor is using live music to tie the action together. Dr. Matthew Schildt, professor of music, composed original music for the production which will be performed by freshman Geoffrey Taylor on the cello. "Early on, I knew I wanted a live cello player dressed as a character on stage to underscore the action. The music captures both the violent and poetic aspects of the story in a really exciting way."
"This is my final show at Adams State," Houser said. "It is good to go out with a bang." Taylor said it is bittersweet watching seniors graduate but also exciting to introduce new faces who will lead the program over the next few years.
"If you have read the book or seen the film – you will want to see our production," Taylor added. "There are the characters you love, the same great story – live on stage in front of you. It will be an evening you won't forget."
"The Outsiders" opens for the general public at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 26 and continues May 2 and 3. A 2 p.m. matinee is scheduled for Sunday, May 4. Tickets go on sale Monday, April 14, and can be reserved by calling the Theatre Box Office at 719-587-8499. The play is recommended for audience members 11-years and older.
The ASU Theatre program is partnering with the Boys and Girls Club of the SLV for a benefit performance on April 25. Call the Boys & Girls Club at 719-589-5252 or go to Boys and Girls Fundraiser for tickets and more information. All proceeds from that performance will fund summer activities at the club.