A picture is worth a thousand words and Hinman Production Company’s (HPC) “35mm: A Musical Exhibition,” attempts to tell a story through the use of pictures. The show transforms the renowned photography of Matthew Murphy into song, telling stories through music, acting and dance.
“35mm: A Musical Exhibition” is a series of vignettes. Scenes range from a girl singing to a boy she yearns for, to a boy singing to a boy he has feelings for, to one that tells of domestic abuse.
Ben McLauchlin, the director of “35mm: A Musical Exhibition” had strong convictions about this show and has pitched it nearly every semester since his freshman year. This year everything fell into place when it came to voting for the fall show and achieving the rights to the script and music.
McLauchlin, a junior majoring in environmental studies and and graphic design, was exposed to the play for the first time when at SUNY Geneseo in 2013. His friend has close ties with Ryan Scott Oliver, the composer who wrote the show’s lyrics and music in 2009.
In addition to focusing on love, the show explores themes of mental illness, ideas about religion and the rejection of religion. Some songs and images in the show feature only two actors while others make use of the two halves of the stage to tell the story, echoing the complex nature of these themes through the staging itself. In the latter of these situations, there is a dialogue between the seemingly separate groups. The conversation of one group is about what is happening with the acting on the other end of the stage.
McLauchlin and Assistant Director Becca Silverman, a sophomore studying English and human development, agreed that they are confident with the actors and the pit, so the opening of the show is approached with minimal nerves on their end. Silverman used her musical theatre background to choreograph several of the dance scenes.
As far as the music of the show goes, those involved are happy with how their work has progressed.
“I shouldn’t have favorite [songs] but I do, ‘This is All Official’ and ‘Cut You a Piece,’” said Christine McCune, a junior majoring in psychology and human development. “So wonderful, they’re all wonderful and I’ve loved watching them grow.”
This is McCune’s third year in HPC and second year working as the musical director. In addition to conducting the pit orchestra of the play, McCune plays cello in the pit.
Kaila McLaughlin, HPC’s stage manager, commented on how well the cast has been working together, and this positive energy translates over onto the stage.
“HPC has taught me how a production process can be very smooth and organized and drama free, which is funny because it’s theatre, but we have kept and maintained a really positive attitude,” said Kaila, a sophomore majoring in psychology.
McLauchlin shared that this show is focused on the community environment that HPC fosters.
“My favorite aspect is that it is truly an ensemble production, not about one person or idea but so many people telling so many ideas,”McLauchlin said. “[35mm] gets so many more people involved that is typical, [it] has that community aspect that HPC really embodies and I love.”
Performances for “35mm: A Musical Exhibition” will be Nov. 17, 18 and 19 at 8 p.m., with an additional showing Nov. 19 at 2. Tickets will be sold at the door for $5.