Theatre department’s ‘Stick Fly’ portrays race, realism

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SVSU’s theatre department performed “Stick Fly” from Wednesday, April 11, to Sunday, April 15.

“Stick Fly” follows the lives of the LeVays, a well-off African-American family. When the two LeVay brothers bring their significant others on a vacation to the family’s lavish home, tensions boil over, secrets are revealed and relationships are put to the test.

Music junior Indigo Dudley played Taylor.

“Taylor is an entomologist, so she studies bugs, and she is the fiancée of Kent LeVay,” Dudley said. “She is kind of like me in some of her beliefs and values, so it wasn’t that difficult to be Taylor.”

“Stick Fly” was Dudley’s first SVSU play.

“This is my first actual role in a play since the ninth grade,” Dudley said. “I’m used to singing on stage with a choir, but there is a different method to impersonating a character and trying to capture the audience. You’re trying to relay your emotion in a different way.”

For Director Thomas Wedge, working with the fresh talent of the cast proved both challenging and rewarding.

“It’s a six-person play, and, for three of the actors, this is their first or second time on stage,” Wedge said. “There’s a tremendous amount of talent on the stage, but the talent is raw. As we work, we have taken the energy and art that they already have and focused it with craft that they’re learning.”

Theatre and communication senior Joshua Lloyd played the father, Joe LeVay.

“One of the challenges I had was portraying an older character,” Lloyd said. “It’s very easy when playing someone who is of older age to be stereotypical with a hunched back, frail shaky voice and movement. Instead, I strived to make my character a real, living, breathing person.”

Lloyd has been in numerous SVSU productions, but “Stick Fly” was challenging for the actor.

“This one was a bit more difficult than others,” Lloyd said. “The only way to make our actions read authentic on stage is if we ourselves are not afraid to become vulnerable around one another.”

The play contained profane language, which added to the realism.

“At the beginning, we were talking about what the recommended age level would be for the play, but I feel like you can’t really put an age limit on it,” Dudley said.

The play also addressed the theme of race.

“Race is an integral part of this play,” Wedge said. “There are five black characters and one Caucasian character, and there is tension that comes from that dynamic and also learning and realizations with it, too.”

Dudley hopes that attendees appreciated the multi-faceted characters.

“When I was reading over the play, I noticed that everyone wasn’t necessarily right or wrong,” Dudley said. “It was kind of unsettling because I couldn’t get behind any one person. Each character has bright sides and dark sides, and I think that’s the coolest part of the play.”

Elementary education freshman Kaydee Swafford enjoyed the play’s realism.

“I thought it was going to be like the last play, ‘Death by Design,’ which was a lot more formal,” Swafford said. “This play was definitely a lot funnier, laid back and realistic.”

Exercise science freshman Jacob Bailey enjoyed the drama of the characters.

“I liked the show,” Bailey said. “It was cool to see the secrets come out and how everyone kind of came together in the end.”

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