Believe it or not


University Theater’s inaugural summer-residency program required students to lie—at least half the time. The two-week workshop culminated Sunday night with True + False, a performance featuring actors who recited two autobiographical stories, one true and the other false. The production team told the roughly 30 people on hand at the Reynolds Club’s Francis X. Kinahan Theater to “figure out for yourselves which is which”—the audience never learned which stories were authentic.

Eight college-age actors took the stage to put their stories’ veracity to the test. In “Mature,” Amber Robinson reflected on her recently widowed grandfather, explaining how he used an Internet-dating chat room to begin a relationship with a woman 30 years his junior. “He did not care, this was the women of his dreams,” Robinson read. Although he originally told the woman he was 50 instead of 85, Robinson said, the two had been dating for several months.

Tim Dunn’s “Feel My Pain” detailed his hypochondria during college. He recalled taking weekly home-pregnancy tests to check for testicular cancer (pregnant women produce the same hormone as men with testicular cancer). His girlfriend stumbled upon the test strips and confronted him before getting the whole story from Dunn’s roommate, after which, he said, they all had a laugh.

“It’s been a remarkable and invaluable two weeks here,” said Big Picture Group artistic director Roger Bechtel on behalf of his team, parked behind a giant control board orchestrating a wall of nearly 20 television monitors that displayed live and pre-recorded footage complementing each story’s plot. The Big Picture Group production company was among eight local drama groups that participated in the summer program.

Following its successful development at University Theater, Big Picture Group announced it would take True + False on the road in January, at a venue yet to be determined. And that’s no lie.

Hassan S. Ali, ’07

Photos: Amber Robinson reads her true-or-false tale (top). The screens showed taped and live video matching the stories (bottom).

August 14, 2006