Have you ever found yourself wondering how your life would have turned out differently if you hadn’t switched majors, if you hadn’t pulled an all-nighter for a midterm or if you had actually said yes to that coffee date? This Thursday, the Hinman Production Company (HPC) will be performing its rendition of “If/Then,” a musical following one woman, Elizabeth, and how one simple choice leads to two very different outcomes in her life.
Erin Stahley, co-director of the show, president of HPC and a senior double-majoring in English and political science, discussed how “If/Then” was more ambitious than previous HPC projects.
“Over the past few semesters, HPC has been starting to push the limits of our previous shows,” Stahley said. “‘If/Then’ is a larger production than what we might have done a few years ago, especially from a technical aspect. For example, we did a lot of fun things to help the audience along the way to understand what’s going on with the two lives, like different lighting with our new LED lights.”
HPC performs its shows in the Hinman Commons each semester. According to Stahley, the limited space and resources serve as a challenge for the cast and crew of “If/Then.”
“The thing that makes HPC unique is definitely our space,” Stahley said. “It’s small, so we have more of a black box [theater] feeling to our shows, which I feel is really special and unique and gives the audience a more intimate experience.”
Stahley explained how the limited space restricted cast size, thereby influencing the music in the show.
“We had to limit our cast size because of our space,” Stahley said. “We had a little difficulty getting the vocal parts to fit our cast size because a lot of the music requires everyone to be on their own harmony.”
Claire Mills, music director of the show and a junior majoring in music, helped adapt the vocals for the cast size.
“Since we have such a small cast, I had to go through every written vocal part and assign who I thought would best sing every line,” Mills said. “They’re doing such a great job — I’m so happy with it.”
Sydney Perruzza, a junior majoring in psychology, plays the main character, Elizabeth. Perruzza she said portraying two narratives at the same time can be a challenge.
“I feel like this is one of the hardest productions we’ve ever done,” Perruzza said. “There are a lot of elements to the show. The music is really difficult, and for my character, her life splits in the first part of the show. You’re watching the show, but there are two lives happening at the same time. We’re trying to make it so everyone understands that. This is one of my dream roles, so I’m so excited I get to play it.”
“If/Then” is a show about choices and the impact they have on the outcomes of peoples’ lives. Stahley said the show’s message has resonated with her, especially as a college senior.
“The message of this show really speaks to me,” Stahley said. “It’s about choices and fate. Being a senior in college, I have a lot of those things to think about, a lot of what-ifs and what is to come in the future. Should I be worrying about every decision I make, or should I just make a decision and let it take me somewhere, and that’s really what the show is about. It’s been really eye-opening and has helped me a lot with senior year.”
Stahley said audiences can look forward to entertaining music, dance and a strong message.
“We have some really great dance numbers and vocals, and this show has a lot of really great messages that audiences can look forward to,” Stahley said. “You can expect to leave feeling like you saw something valuable and have a new perspective on what it means to make a choice and where it can lead you. Even if you don’t trust the universe, hopefully you can learn to trust yourself and the decisions that you make.”
“If/Then” will be performed in the Hinman Commons at 8 p.m. on Nov. 21 and 22 and on Nov. 23 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students and $8 for general admission.