Dorinda Toner watches cast members walk aimlessly around Decker Theatre.
“A walk can describe your character,” she tells them.
The actors complete this exercise in preparation for Clark’s upcoming production: “Urinetown.”
“Urinetown,” directed by Toner, follows a town experiencing a 20-year drought, causing the residents to be charged to use bathroom amenities supplied by the corporation Urine Good Company.
The musical, opening on Feb. 17, satirizes big business, the legal system and politics.
“I think the show is an underrated masterpiece,” said Bruce Kyte, who portrays Caldwell B. Cladwell, an evil businessman who runs the Urine Good Company.
Fellow actor Greg Saum, portraying Officer Lockstock — the show’s narrator, praises the musical. “It’s a show that anyone will have a good time watching,” Saum said.
The production features a variety of musical genres including blues, gospel and even a rap, he said. “The music of the show is just so much fun.”
However, Saum found difficulty singing his character’s lower vocal range, despite previous choral experience. Toner believes the musical’s subject matter is still timely, in spite of the 16-year-old script.
“We are more aware of our environment and we’re more aware of global warming,” she said. “In a way it’s even more relevant.”
This sentiment is shared by Kyte. Besides its off-putting title, “Urinetown” has an important message about people’s “wanton disregard” of social responsibilities, he said.
“That’s the great thing about theatre,” drama professor Gene Biby said. “You can be entertained while thinking about those issues at the same time.”
Biby is the producer this quarter, a job that will insure the show will go on. His duties include managing money for sets and costumes, securing the rights to perform the play and scheduling theatre use time. “You stay in contact with everybody,” he said.
Biby and Toner are no strangers. The two previously acted together in the Clark production “Rabbit Hole,” where they played husband and wife.
“We had to learn to get along,” Toner joked about the experience. Biby asked Toner to direct the production after the previous director left Clark.
“She’s a great person that I knew I could work with,” Biby said.
Like Biby, the cast members seem to appreciate Toner’s direction.“I love working with Dorinda,” Kyte said. “She’s excellent at working with each actor individually.” Toner hopes students are inspired by the production.
“I think young people have the most potential to make a change,” she said. “And that’s what I hope they get from it.”