people acting on stage in play

ASU play tackles comedy, realism and politics

By

Penny Walker

Phil and Molly are best friends. Matt and Phil are in a relationship. Andres and Molly are in a relationship. Molly and Matt are legally married. When an immigration officer shows up unexpectedly on Phil and Matt’s sixth anniversary, hilarity and a good dose of drama ensues.

“Our Kiki: A Gay Farce,” a new play by Arizona State University alumnus Seth Tucker, is, yes, a farce ­– but it also incorporates serious tones by bringing a marginalized group to center stage.

“With laws like RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act) still set into motion in places like Indiana, it is as important as ever to include story lines and characters from the underrepresented," said Tucker, who graduated with bachelor’s degrees in musical theatre and business marketing in 2009.

For show director Jake Jack Hylton, another ASU alum with a bachelor’s in theatre, that’s why this script stands out.

“The thing that makes me most excited is that not too often do you have a play where the main focus is a gay couple and it is about them and about their life,” Hylton said. “So what I’ve wanted to do, directorially, is give the audience a chance to look into the day in the life of a normal, everyday couple. We get to see their flaws, we get to see how they react in stressful situations and with their loved ones, and how they act when boundaries don’t exist.”

The ASU students involved in the production say they have benefited greatly from working with Hylton because of his passion for theater, but also because he possesses a unique sense of understanding as a recent alum (May 2013).

“As an alum coming back, I know exactly where they’re at,” Hylton said. “ … I’m able to gauge where they’re at in their knowledge with what classes they’ve taken and to implement that into the rehearsal process.”

Adam Mendez, an actor in “Our Kiki” pursuing a bachelor’s degree in theatre with a concentration in acting, says he has enjoyed learning from Hylton’s experiences.

“It’s very insightful to have alums come back again after they’ve been out for a while … because they come back with things they’ve learned out there that they can apply to us students,” Mendez said.

Parts of the script are in Spanish and Finnish, which has been a new experience for many of the cast.

“I’ve never spoken another language in a show before, so when I read the script initially, I knew that this was something I really wanted to do because of these challenges,” said Shannon Phelps, pursuing a bachelor’s in theatre with a concentration in acting. “I knew it would push me a little bit more.”

For Mendez, the real work of the show is to merge the comedic and the serious.

“The script is funny,” said Mendez. “It’s written as a farce, but I feel we’re trying to bring a real vivid life representation to the stage.”

“Our Kiki: A Gay Farce” runs through April 26 at the Lyceum Theatre on ASU’s Tempe campus. Tickets are $16 for general admission; $12 for ASU faculty, staff, alumni and seniors; and $8 for students. Purchase tickets at 480.965.6447 or online.

Media contact:
Katrina Montgomery, katrina.montgomery@asu.edu
480.727.4433