‘The Outsiders’ comes to Rome Little Theatre

Annabeth Crittenden, Campus Carrier Asst. Entertainment Editor

An adaptation of S.E. Hinton’s novel “The Outsiders” at the Rome Little Theatre shows the coming-of-age story of Ponyboy as he struggles with finding a place in his world while living in a world of injustice. He lives with his two brothers, Sodapop and Darry, and is part of a group with the rest of the kids in his neighborhood, called the “greasers.” They are in constant rivalry with the privileged kids from the next neighborhood, the “socs.” Yet, when the violence between the two groups leads to tragedy, Ponyboy must realize that he is more than a “greaser,” and discover his own individuality and find that everyone, no matter “greaser” or “soc” will see the same sunset in the end. 

Although “The Outsiders” originally took place in 1965, Virginia McChesney, the director of the show, chose to set her adaptation in modern day, due to the timelessness of the themes contained in the story.

                                                                               Photos contributed by Rome Little Theatre
Top: A “greaser” and a “soc” fight during the “Rumble,” a struggle to discover which of the two groups
will maintain the neighborhood.
Bottom: The cast sits on the steps of the house. 

McChesney originally applied to be a part of the production because of its emotional impact and her opportunity to work with a larger and younger cast.

In a cast of mainly teenagers, the acting quality of a show could hang in the balance when the majority of the cast has not had the years of acting and theater experience that many adults have collected. However, this cast of 19 teenagers and young adults ranging from 12 to mid 20s handled the serious material extremely well with understanding and clarity.

Cannon Rodgers, a freshman at Rome High School, led the show with his believable portrayal of Ponyboy. Chase Brackett (Johnny) and Lindsey Chambers (Cherry) also had strong performances throughout the show. Yet, overall, the teenagers and adults in the show obviously understood the motivations and roles of their characters and were able to bring these perceptions on stage.

Richard Bristow, visiting theater professor at Berry College, choreographed the fights in the show in order to make sure they were safe and efficient.

The Berry College Theatre Company also contributed one of the main set pieces in the show. A large abstract sculpture representing the multiple fences that play a role in the production was used in 2013 when Berry performed “A Midsummer’s Night Dream.”

Since then, the sculpture was donated to the Rome Little Theatre and has been modified for several other productions.

Other than the abstract sculpture as the backdrop of the show, their stage contains two set pieces, the house and the church. These buildings were created from the same materials because they both represented the places where people find comfort, McChesney said.

McChesney also attempted to create a blend of abstract and concrete elements through the lighting, set, and music in the show in order to portray the chaos that derives from violence.

Two Berry alumni are performing in the show. Rebecca Segrest (C02),  plays the nurse and Mary Ortwein (C89), plays, Ms. O’Bryant.

Overall, this production gave an adequate depiction of the disarray and inconsistency that teenagers see in our world of chaos. It also creates the space between good and bad, allowing those to see the full spectrum of humanity that can come with maturity.

When translating their vision on the stage, every director has an expectation of what their audience will take away from their production.

“(I hope the audience realizes that) we each have a responsibility with any child we meet, to help them grow and find out who they are in a safe environment,” McChesney said.

“The Outsiders” opens on Jan. 30 and will run through Feb. 8 at the DeSoto Theater on Broad Street. Friday and Saturday shows begin at 8 p.m. and Saturday matinees begin at 2:30 p.m. Student tickets are $10 and adult tickets are $15.

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