Metaphysique D’Ephemera: fourth production at Pierce

Lizzie DukeReporter

Metaphysique D’Ephemera is the fourth production to make it’s way onto the stage at Pierce College Puyallup. It will show at 8 p.m. Oct. 29, 30 and 31 in the Arts and Allied Health Building. Tickets are $2 to students with a Pierce College ID and $3 for anyone else. Tickets can be purchased at www.PierceCollegeEvents.com.

Metaphysique D’Ephemera is written by Christopher Shipman and Dr. Sarah K. Jackson but is based on the work of Joseph Cornell.

Joshua Potter, assistant professor of communication studies and theatre and the play’s assistant director and Nichole Nicholson, adjunct assistant professor and the show’s director, always look for original work when choosing a play. This version of Metaphysique D’Ephemera has only been performed at three other schools.

“The show is pretty surreal, sort of out there a little bit,” Potter said.

Metaphysique D’Ephemera takes place on a decrepit Coney Island and stars a cat prince, played by student Elijah Alderink, who’s imagining the glory days when the Island was inhabited by numerous rides and people. The other characters, a mix of animals, ballerinas and a narrator of sorts, are trying to get him to come out of his fantasy world of the past and face reality.

Alderink said he hopes people enjoy the dialogue, because the script was written in an intricate way which makes it interesting to listen to.

As the script was created, the writers had characters and lines without dividing who said what. This way the cast members could each pick what they were going to say. For this version of the show, to save time, Nicholson made some choices about which characters had which lines.

The script is written like poetry, with archaic language and line breaks in unusual places. Potter believes understanding the words and meaning is the hardest part for many of the actors and actresses.

Fifteen students auditioned for parts in the play and six were cast. The script was initially written for a cast of four but Nicholson and Potter added two characters: one is a second ballerina and the other is called “means of production” which is half narrator and half stage directions. Even with this character’s defined role, the other characters don’t always do what he says.

Choosing the cast was a joint effort between Nicholson and Potter. During auditions, they mostly looked for flexibility in how well people can work with the other cast members, and creativity. For this reason, a lot of the audition process included playing theater games to see what kind of ideas people would come up with.

“If folks are fearless when they play those games and are willing to play, willing to come up with ideas, that’s something that we can’t teach in four weeks,” Potter said, “so we make sure that folks are willing to get down and dirty and really throw themselves into this process.”  

The last thing Potter and Nicholson looked for was an open schedule. Preparing for the show takes about four weeks, which Potter said is pretty typical for theater productions. The cast practices Mondays and Wednesdays from 5-7 p.m., and Saturdays from 1-5 p.m. for a total of eight hours per week.

Elijah Alderink plays the lead role of the cat prince. He was in the last two shows at Pierce, The Yellow Wallpaper and Tell Me a Story, along with Alex Capilouto who’s the Rabbit.

Chris Urbina plays the new character: “means of production.” He’s acted before but this will be his first show at Pierce College.

Ashlee Thomas plays the bird. Thomas spends the majority of the show perched on a swing, singing many of her lines. Thomas’s never acted before, but was in choir in high school.

The two ballerinas are played by Ella Austin and Athena Frey. Neither Austin nor Frey are ballerinas in real life, but Nicholson’s mother is teaching them numerous ballerina moves for the show.

“It’s going to be freaking awesome,” Frey said. “I like (the show) because it makes you think.”

Metaphysique D’Ephemera will be performed in the Black Box Theater. The theater has a wall of mirrors and a ballet bar, which Potter incorporated into the set. He also plans to use industrial scaffolding as a stage.

“None of us are even going to be touching the ground the whole time,” Capilouto said.

This is the second year Pierce College Puyallup has had a full season of drama performances. Potter looks forward to showcasing the talent of the cast, but his No. 1 goal for this show is student enjoyment.

“The most important thing is for students to feel like they’re involved, for them to have fun,” Potter said. “There’s no point in us putting a play on if people aren’t having fun with it.”

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost

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Metaphysique D’Ephemera: fourth production at Pierce

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