The Boulevard Ensemble Studio Theatre hopes to bring a younger audience in with its newest play, "This Is Our Youth," opening tonight.
The play, written by Kenneth Lonergan, will have a three-week run on the Boulevard stage in between the now-closed "Mrs. Farnsworth" and "The Mandrake," which opens March 31.
"Stylistically (the order of the plays) was perfectly chosen," Associate Director Marjorie Schoemann said. "Mrs. Farnsworth is a political comedy — a comedy of manners — and 'The Mandrake' is a devious comedy by (Niccolo) Machiavelli. 'This is Our Youth' is such a current show even though takes place in 1982. It's completely relevant to our time in style, meter, theme, tone, so contrasting the two shows is better in the classical realm."
The play focuses on 48 hours of the lives of Warren (played by Matt Kemple), Dennis (Ryan Berrard), and Jessica (Anne Miller). Warren takes $15,000 from his father and life is complicated when Dennis and Jessica come into the story bringing along drug use and other coming-of-age issues. However, an interesting aspect of the story is that it is partially autobiographical for Lonergan during his college days.
"At that time in his life (Lonergan) was Warren." Schoemann said.
Lonergan is most well known for his writing in the hit movies "Analyze This" and "Analyze That" staring Robert DeNiro and Billy Crystal.
"This Is Our Youth" has not only seen success in the United States, but also in Canada and London, where the likes of Jason Lewis of "Sex and the City" and Anna Paquin from the X-Men movies have starred.
"(It's) really drawing in a 20-something crowd in London, which was surprising because they were drawing in younger people who weren't typical theater-goers." said Whitney Taylor, a public relations and marketing intern for the theatre.
Schoemann says there is a certain meaning, or epiphany, that the characters have and the audience can identify with.
"All people who go to this show will be able to relate to the characters, maybe not everything, but something they do or say (the audience will) relate to. Struggle for independence or finding meaning in life; we've all been there. This is where title comes in. Lonergan named it "This is Our Youth" — not just his youth, everyone's youth. It's a fun show people can relate to. It's very funny and dark at the same time, which is a good combination."
The Boulevard Ensemble Studio Theatre is located at 2252 S. Kinnickinnic. "This is Our Youth" opens tonight and will run through March 20. Tickets and more information is available by calling 414- 744-5757
This article appeared in The Marquette Tribune on Mar. 3 2005.