“‘Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls’ is an absurdist coming-of-age story about a group of young people who are interconnected through a series of complicated relationships and chance events. It’s about losing and finding oneself, the bonds we create with friends and family, and the moments of synchronicity that can transform and shape our lives,” said director and assistant professor, Tony Speciale.
The production debuted last Friday night, at 8 p.m. in Parker Theater. The stage itself was filled with playground equipment, tables and plants, but slowly became more cluttered. By the end of the show, the floor was covered in beer cans, chip bags, tossed papers, straw from a shedding hoola skirt with bubbles and laughter in the air.
More than a hundred audience members watched as the cast developed and moved on from relationships, traveled across the country from New York to Alaska and Hawaii, created chaos and slowly discovered themselves.
“The main theme of the play is trying to figure out where you belong,” said second-year theater major, Eamon Keuper. “A lot of the characters seem to be asking that, including my character, Pete.”
Sebastian Rodriguez, a fourth-year theater major who plays Martin, added, “Martin is my dawg. He’s not really sure where he belongs in the world and I can relate to that. At its core that’s what this show’s all about – finding where you belong, coming into the world and doing your best.”
“Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls” explores other prominent themes in society and young adult life, in particular diversity of sexual representation, ethnicity and physical appearance.
“I feel like the playwright does such an amazing job of promoting sexuality and discovering your selfhood and the trials and tribulations of being a human being,” first-year theater major Mya Espinosa (who plays Wendy)said. “I feel like it’s done in such a light hearted and refreshing way that it doesn’t make you feel bad for feeling these things. It makes you feel human for feeling these things. That’s something I really loved about the show.”
The message here is strong. Each character and actor in the show had a journey and lesson learned, whether it was finding love, letting go of overbearing control, figuring out their identity or opening up to others around them.
Espinosa said she learned to take care of herself while preparing for the play. “Physically, I tried to drink a lot of water and practices deep breathing. As someone with anxiety, sometimes being on stage can be really overwhelming. So, I do the square breathing technique on and off the stage and I have a pre-show ritual of shaking out all the negative energy in my body. That really helps me get in the mindset of playing a character and calm myself down. I’m going to play Wendy, but I have to take care of Mya,” she said.
“I’ve never done a show that has had this much care and heart and personality put into it. Being a part of this has been really rewarding and special. I’m just so grateful,” Espinosa added.
Additional performances of “Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls” take place this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.