Third Onion productions presents ‘Variations’ this week

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By Kevin Bartelt

For some, the past never leaves.

This is an idea explored in the Third Onion production Variations, a play written by sophomore communications major Becca Pearce and directed by senior theater major William Burdin. The show features music composed by Brian Wach, junior percussion music major.

Variations will take place at 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday in the Corner Theatre in the Stevens Building.

“The beauty of this show has always been in the collaboration between the different art forms: music, theater and dance,” Pearce said. “Together, we’ve combined our talents and made something that wouldn’t have been possible without working with each other. That idea of inspiration is central not only to the production process, but to the play itself.”

Oliver (John Reichenbach), the main character in Variations, struggles to balance his priorities. Oliver is a composer who does not have an easygoing lifestyle—he lives in a rundown apartment above a restaurant called Happiness. Oliver also shares the apartment with his muse, Aria (Christy Gianneschi), who is invisible to everyone else. Their dynamic relationship drives the action of the show.

Early in the play, Oliver meets his new neighbor, Evelyn (Elise Wheaton). Oliver’s interest in Evelyn is obvious, and she is very intrigued by his musicianship. Aria does not approve of this new friendship, and she adds to the dynamic some funny, sarcastic remarks that only Oliver can hear.

Oliver also has a close relationship with his sister, Marie (Tressa Greschak), even though they don’t always see eye to eye.

The School of Theatre and Dance presents plays and dance performances in its mainstage, studio and Third Onion series. The Third Onion is a production scheme created in 2005 to give students more freedom to produce their work independently.

“We were doing something that hasn’t been done in a long time at NIU: a student-written script with a student-written original score,” Pearce said. “Also, the show is comprised entirely of students. This gave us so much more freedom in creating this show because we weren’t reporting to any faculty.”

General admission tickets for Variations cost $3 and can be purchased at the door.