Los Angeles… is Underwater pours into the Stevens Building Corner Theatre


From left to right, Ryan Perry (Trace), Christina Gianneschi (Milan), Kaitlyn Finkelstein (Nina), and Caitlin Ewald (Chastity) complete the cast of Los Angeles is Underwater.

By Katie Finlon

Crazy, insane, unpredictable, meant for mature audiences – and underwater.

Los Angeles! …is Underwater, written and directed by theatre faculty member Luke Krueger, will run 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in the Stevens Building Corner Theatre.

The name is misleading. While Los Angeles floods, the play takes place in a small town in Indiana. It is centered around four main characters: Someone alleged to be the actor who played Ralphie in A Christmas Story, a hopeful documentary filmmaker, a public-relations powerhouse and a lost and chronically-confused blonde actress.

Chaos ensues.

“It’s kind of a heightened reality of sorts, where you will find it relatable but it takes that next step,” said Romeo Jackson, freshman theatre design and technology major and stage manager.

Krueger describes his work as “South Park for the stage”. He likes to get his characters into a situation so deep by intermission that the audience doesn’t know where the play will go from there.

“I like using ‘dramaturgical judo’, where I get the audience’s momentum going one way and just take that momentum and throw them in a direction they’re not expecting,” he said.

Not only does the department have the opportunity to showcase a faculty member’s work, but it also has the privilege of housing the first-ever performance of the play. The actors’ names will be in the publication of the script as the first actors to play their roles.

Krueger and all of the actors agree that it’s rare to work with director and playwright as the same person, and it’s a rare opportunity to be the first cast to perform a show.

For example, the influence of the actors added about nine more pages to the show’s original script, according to junior acting major Caitlin Ewald, who plays Chastity.

“It’s been a really cool opportunity because we’ve done improv work, and lines that we said in our improv that he’s liked [were] added into our show,” she said.

Sophomore acting major Ryan Perry, who plays Trace, said the experience of working with a director who is also the playwright is valuable. It doesn’t happen very often, and it eliminates the researching process for a work with a dead playwright.

“I can’t speak on that experience, because I haven’t had a new play where the playwright hasn’t been there,” Perry said. “But I can speak for the fact that [Krueger] knows his script more than anyone else will know it.”

Though the cast and crew doesn’t want to give too much of the storyline away, they encourage everybody to come watch the show.

“It’s newer, it’s recent so [the audience] can make more connections in the script,” said Christina Gianneschi, junior theatre studies major who plays Milan. “They understand it a lot more. I think all of the characters are so relatable, and so many people in the audience can see different parts of themselves in each character.”

Unlike Shakespeare and other theatre classics, this performance is very pop culture-based, with references of celebrities and scandals within the last fifteen years.

“Everything’s so focused on the media today, and the play is based a lot around that,” said sophomore acting major Kaitlyn Finkelstein, who plays Nina.