By Cassie Osvatics
Beginning this Friday, director Yury Urnov will bring the third ever production of Maksym Kurochkin’s The Schooling of Bento Bonchev to The Clarice’s Kogod Theatre through the university’s School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies.
Senior performance major Alex Beveridge, who plays the main character Bento, explained that “the show is about this society that becomes so technologically advanced they no longer think sex is a thing.” He went on to say his character “is a scholar researching the myth of sex slowly discovering that he doesn’t believe in it” and that “the world discovers that it’s a real thing … It’s about stubbornness in the face of incontrovertible proof.”
Beveridge said he was drawn to this role after reading the script because “[Bento’s] discourse is so much fun. The way he speaks, the vocal rhythms that he has, the language that he uses is just so, so fun. It’s like a combination of overcompensating-ly intelligent and condescending while still stuck in this massive state of denial. It’s just such a fun character to play.”
Though people keep telling Beveridge that Bento is the “perfect character for him,” Beveridge said he isn’t taking it as a compliment, though he has fun playing characters who are jerks.
“It helps express your catharsis as a performer when you can be the character that is kind of being mean to everyone else,” Beveridge said.
Originally a musician, Beveridge got his start in theatre after a friend had to step down from a directing position. He then moved to acting in a touring children’s theatre two years ago. In total, Beveridge has been acting for four years now.
The lead actor has found a lot of challenges in performing the play, saying “there are 43 scenes, which means the average scene length is about a minute and a half and it jumps forward in time. It covers the span of at least 40 years.”
He explained the challenges of not only having to change costume but also having to change his mindset, as well. It’s “something that’s really difficult and like physically exhausting in the show and has definitely taken a while to build up both the mental and physical stamina to do so.”
The set, he explained, is made of six main set pieces. Of those, there are three chunks of wall and three tables, which are manipulated, moved and changed to become space.
In addition, there are 19-feet-high bricks of wall. When they move, the entire space moves with them, Beveridge explained.
“With the use of projection, sound and light, and these six very minimal set pieces moving, the space transforms,” Beveridge said. ‘Then it’s our duty as actors also to let you know that the space has transformed, which goes along with that struggle of 43 different locations over the course of an hour-long show, but at the same time, that’s a lot of fun. It’s like acting olympics.”
As only the third production of the play, it is definitely a unique set up. Beveridge went on to say “it’s unlike any other production because all this knowhow and all these grad students coming together to work on their thesis and Yuri, who’s an amazing director, are all coming together to just art as hard as they can for a solid hour. It’s a technical wonder to watch this huge narrative to unfold in such a minimalist setting.”
You can purchase tickets to see The Schooling of Bento Bonchev here.
Featured Photo Credit: Senior Devin Kohn (left) performing as Tirce, and senior theatre performance major Alex Beveridge (right) as Bento, during a dress rehearsal for The Schooling of Bento Bonchev in the Kogod Theatre of The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. (Cassie Osvatics/Bloc Reporter)
Cassie Osvatics is a senior English major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.