Theatre major stays in character for a week, finally makes friends

Illustration by Cayden Bullock

*The Backdoor is a work of fiction and humor

By Stephen Hanley

The LC Theatre Department’s production of “Sweeney Todd” debuted on November 2 to rave reviews. Buzz about the performances carried well into the week, with students and professors alike lauding the cast. Phillipa Rhododendron ’19, who has been involved with the Theatre Department throughout her college career, shared how it feels to be recognized after months of preparation.

“What are you talking about?” Rhododendron said. “I didn’t get recognized for anything. I haven’t gotten a single line in four years. My friends didn’t even notice I was on stage, even though I’ve been telling them for a month how tiring it is to practice harmonies and choreography every night.”

Though some cast members were evidently disappointed, others discovered popularity through their roles. Classmates of Frankie May Fitz ’22 — a member of the “Sweeney Todd” chorus who practiced different inflections of her one line for seven hours prior to opening night — reported that she had remained in character as a Victorian well into the week. Vernon Chaldez ’20, who sits next to Fitz in their Intro to Poetry class, said the change was welcome.

“It was kinda annoying when she started answering our professor in a Cockney accent,” Chaldez said. “But then I remembered how annoying it was when she used to answer questions as herself.”

Fitz’s dorm neighbors agreed with Chaldez, noting that the transition had made her significantly less confrontational.

“Oh my god, Frankie used to be totally unbearable,” said Jenny Morte ’21. “She’d have these huge dramatic meltdowns whenever someone used her favorite shower stall or took her clothes out of the dryer early. Now she just scowls and mutters to herself about pies. It’s pretty dope.”

Dining employees noted that the new Fitz, who insisted her name was Poppy Nottingbritches, had even found peers to eat with in the Bon. However, their report was tempered by claims that Fitz was increasingly commenting on the “bloody rotten taste o’ these ‘ere cow pies” while eyeing her new friends hungrily.

Fitz finally broke character at the request of Student Rights and Responsibilities, where she was sent after bringing a meat cleaver to E&D and licking it during class. Students and faculty protested the inevitable decision outside her hearing, claiming that attacks against Fitz were in violation of her First Amendment rights. But further questioning revealed that an underlying motive may have spawned the rally, as demonstrated by interim theater professor Jeremy Persimmons.

“Method acting? Yeah, sure, super important,” said Persimmons. “Look, if I have to listen to Frankie wail about how she got a 93 instead of a 94 on an essay one more time I’m going to Demon-Barber myself.”

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