Cornerstone Theatre and some cast members of “Sleepy: A Musical” will perform “Tired Times” 7 p.m. Friday in the Borah Theatre.
The play, a comedy fundraiser, intends to bring “Sleepy: A Musical” to a regional theater conference in Spokane later this month. Admission is $5.
“Tired Times” director and “Sleepy” cast member Dan Cass said the comedy show will consist of music, a parody song, sketches and stand-up comedy, created and performed by a team of students from the University of Idaho Theatre Arts Department.
Among those 12 students are Gina Workman and Whitney Holland, part of the “Sleepy” cast.
“They are all stand-alone pieces,” Workman said. “It’s like an SNL where there are individual things that are split up with music and skits, so it’ll be kind of like that style, but live.”
Holland and Workman will be working together on one of the sketches called “Life of a Sweater.”
Holland said it’s a story about how different sides of people come out depending on the different outfits they wear.
“It’s really fun, imagine your personalities on clothes hangers,” Holland said.
Cass said “Tired Times” will contain a lot of fast, clean jokes and will not be pushing any agenda. It’s a place where people can enjoy a good laugh, he said.
“Comedy, if it’s done correctly—which hopefully we do—is something everybody can relate to,” Cass said. “I think a lot of times these days, theater takes itself too seriously. You go see a show, someone’s trying to send a message, trying to ask a question, which I fully support, but I also like theater in the fact that it brings community, brings togetherness.”
“Tired Times” is the brainchild of Cass, who had produced similar shows prior to attending UI and has previous experience with comedy.
“Sleepy: A Musical” is a student-produced play adapted from a short story by Russian playwright Anton Chekhov. The performance ran for three days during finals week of spring 2017.
The play is centered around Varka, a girl sold off to a family with a baby who never stops crying. The baby’s continuous crying deprives Varka of much-needed sleep and eventually leads to her killing the baby.
The musical takes place after this event, when a man named “The Doctor” recruits children who have done terrible things into The Lost Children Band, a theater troupe where they perform their own tragedies for profit. In the play, the band performs Varka’s story, making her relive these memories.
Holland said half of the cast members of “Sleepy” have graduated last year and are now working in Chicago. The funds collected will help these members, who must take time off work, with travel and lodging expenses. It’s bringing back the other half of the family for the show, she said.
“We’re trying to raise money for (“Sleepy”) and we felt like we needed to do something, we needed to earn the money,” Workman said. “We do have a GoFundMe page, but it’s nice to actually feel like you did something for it.”
Taylor Caldwell, co-chair of Cornerstone Theatre, said the student-run organization has extended its arms in helping out with resources for the fundraiser such as providing rehearsal spaces.
“Sleepy: A Musical” has a GoFundMe page with a goal of $2,000, and the total donations received thus far total slightly over $1,500.
Caldwell said the goal of “Tired Times” is to raise at least $500. They are hoping to fill as many seats as possible out of the 174 available in the Borah Theater.
“Sharing work with audiences is the whole reason why we do this,” Cass said. “People forget that theatre and performance is the best customer service job you can have, and that’s what I want “Tired Times” to be, you give us $5, we’re at your service for an hour.”
“Sleepy: A Musical” was invited to perform at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, a regional theatre conference that features distinguished theatrical works in the region.
“So, expect just to have a good time, hopefully,” Cass said. “My goal is that if you go in not expecting to have a good time, I will convince you otherwise and we all will do it together.”
“Sleepy: A Musical” will be performed in a one-night-only benefit show Feb. 17 in the Hartung Theatre.
May Ng can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org