With just four actors and an intimate performance space, the cast and crew of “The Receptionist” had a challenge before them. With only five weeks of rehearsal and finals week approaching, they were faced with the task of ending the studio season with a bang.
“The Receptionist” is a comedy written by Adam Bock that depicts the day in the life of Beverly Watkins. She’s exactly what you would expect someone with that name to be: an office secretary. On one particular day, Watkins and her co-workers are performing their regular office routine until they notice that the boss is absent. Once that happens, their day turns upside down.
On stage, a desk sits to the left. Among the typical array of office supplies on top is a gleaming white telephone. Before every rehearsal, student director Martin Murray tests out the sound of the telephone ringing to make sure it’s in sync with the script. The comedic timing of the phone’s ringing and Watkins’ conversation on it are an integral part of the show’s charm. It’s one of the many details that makes the student-run show so watchable.
Murray, a senior majoring in theater, directs his cast members to warm up with each other the traditional way to get them all on the same page. For about 10 minutes, the actors jump around and stretch to prepare. Because the cast is so small, Murray can give individualized attention to the actors before the curtain rises.
Murray isn’t new to directing, with two other productions behind him. He has been working on the show’s script since last April, but only rehearsing with the cast for the last five weeks.
“It’s going really well,” he said. “My adviser Elizabeth Mozer is pushing me in new and interesting directions.”
“The Receptionist” is premiering at 8 p.m. Thursday and will have additional performances at 8 p.m. on Friday, Sunday and Sunday with a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday. Located in Studio B/Gruber Theater in the Fine Arts Building. Tickets are $3.