Hilltop Players premiere “18 Vi­ctoria” tonight in Kelly Theater

By Jacob Ward, Contributing Writer
The West Liberty University Hilltop Players open the first show of the semester “18 Victoria” today. The show will run Feb. 22-23 at 7:30 p.m., March 1-3 at 7:30 p.m., and on Sunday, March 4 at 3 p.m. 
The show was written by Cody Daigle-Orians, and is directed by Adjunct Theatre Professor Maggie Balsley.

The audience is in for a treat on opening night; playwright Daigle-Orians will be in attendance, and the audience will have a chance to meet him after the show at the reception.
The play will be held in Kelly Theater, located in the Fine Arts Building. Discount tickets can be purchased online, and students can also purchase tickets for $5 at the ticket office on show night.
“18 Victoria” is about three siblings named Ben, Catherine and Stephen. With the sudden death of their father, the siblings struggle to reconcile with one other to sort out their family differences. Unfortunately, a larger problem arises—  a catastrophic asteroid is hurtling toward earth. Coming down to the final days of mankind’s existence, the siblings recall the memories about their childhood issues and errors of adult communication. For the siblings, it is about the past coming back to haunt them in the world’s darkest hour.
The three siblings are played by Callie Carroll (Catherine), Grant VanCamp (Ben) and Alex Gordon (Stephen).
Chris Rees is the set designer. The lighting and projection design is done by Alex Franke. Ingrid Young is the photographer.
Rees wants the audience to feel the set and the actors, instead of noticing it. The play should allow the audience to complement the show and actors altogether.
“The success of the show is more impactful to me than the success of the design,” said Rees.
“I was drawn to the language of the play,” says Balsley. “It’s beautifully written and the relationships of the characters actually are a bonus. I have a tendency to be attracted to work that has impressive sound and words. I usually pick pieces that I ‘hear’ clearly.”
Meta Lasch, Technical Director at West Liberty, said, “As a member of the technical design staff, my desire is for the various designers to have a positive, creative moment. It’s my job to help them express their concept in a way the audience can understand.”
“When the show is over, and the audience is walking out, I would like them to have a positive experience, and think about what they just experienced,” said Lasch.
Michael Aulick, Theatre Director at West Liberty, explains why the play was selected. Aulick says that plays are chosen per season, and not based on one aspect. He knew that the department wanted to perform a small cast for February, and a large cast for April. 
For Aulick, it is essential that West Liberty Theatre promotes raw works, and performing “18 Victoria” brings new concepts to the scene. “It is a play about trying to come to grips about families’ pasts, and how families deal with things they are not proud of,” said Aulick.
The asteroid plummeting towards the planet was the motivation for the characters to work out their differences between one another.
Aulick remarks that there is going to be the chance of a mixed audience perspective. Some might find it amazing, or weird in a sense, or some people might not like it, but that is the nature of the theatre.
“The goal is to put something that is intriguing, so it might spark something out in the audience,” said Aulick.
To purchase tickets, one can come to the ticket booth during show nights or purchase online.
Photo Credit: Media Relations