Originally written for publication on March 5, 2013.
Theater director, Chuck Ketter, decided to direct the musical, “Assassins,” for the spring 2013 production with his own twist. With a whole new cast, the Fullerton College theater program put its own interpretation into this fascinating creation. Although there were no major changes to the script, Ketter let his imagination lead the way with minor alterations to the original play.
After doing Dean Robert Jensen’s version of this production in 2000, Ketter said that he was “recreating the show from 13 years ago in a different way.”
He thought that, along with his new ideas, the current performers would have a large impact on the way the audience may perceive the message of the show. Ketter said that the actors had their own unique qualities that affect the performance. Their performance reflected their passion in this production.
“The students are really excited about doing this material which makes directing not too difficult,” stated Ketter.
His duties include directing a total number of 28 cast members, including: technical, scene, lighting crews and a collaboration with the music department.
EB Bohks, who was cast in the role of Emma Goldman in “Assassins” shared her view. She said that her role is quite different than her past roles because her character was a real person.
“I’m used to creating my own back story. It’s totally different learning about what she went through. It’s really cool,” said Bohks.
Ketter emphasized how confident he was in this cast because they are focused, passionate, and unique. This showed why the program had no trouble casting all the roles in just three days. They rehearse at a minimum of 12 hours per week, and they already held a run through of the show with the conductor. Tyler Campbell, who is playing the role of Sam Byck, said that he could work with the cast all day, every day.
However, there was a catch to how perfect the production was going. Being a musical about assassinations, there were to be stage weapons included in the play. The day after Ketter purchased a total of nine stage guns, he received a notification from administration. It warned theater programs that, because of the recent events involving gunfire on school campuses and controversy on guns, public safety and the Dean had to be notified of the exact time and place of any blank fire throughout a performance. Luckily, Ketter already sent a detailed list to the dean.
“I’d rather be proactive than reactive,” said Ketter.
The production is historical with American figures as the core, but it is not a traditional melodic musical with smiles and giggles the entire time. Ketter stated that the show does not glorify the murders, but aims to be a psychological examination.
“The play is historical and character based. It’s very intense and less showy,” Campbell stated.
It seems that no matter who’s opinion you ask, each member of the program had similar positive thoughts about how the play is unique. Ketter hopes for people’s curiousity to lure them into the audience, and that they enjoy the edge that he sees.
Rather than leaving the theater humming a tune, Ketter had a different thought on how he pictured the ending for the viewers.
“I want them to leave the theater thinking,” Ketter said.
Assassins plays a four-day run, from March 7-9, and on March 14. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $12.50 for students, seniors and children. All performances start at 8pm and will not have an intermission.