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Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

‘Ordinary Days’ inspires audiences to appreciate beauty in little things

Students invite audiences into ‘stripped-back,’ ‘minimalistic’ performance that brings to light the ordinary things that make the world beautiful.
Courtesy of BWMT
Left to right: Jessi Kirtley, Luke Henson, Kenna Wilson and Anthony Mejia perform a scene from ‘Ordinary Days’ as members of the Uptown Cast.

In their 17th annual spring partnership with Playhouse Square, Baldwin Wallace Music Theatre students bring an intimate production of “Ordinary Days” to the Helen Theatre, premiering tonight.  

With music and lyrics by Adam Gwon, “Ordinary Days” follows four New York City residents as they navigate their lives in the aftermath of 9/11. Claire and Jason decide to move in together, forcing the two to face their past and walk into the future. Meanwhile, Deb and Warren meet during the run of the musical and debate their opposite views on life and beauty. 

Directed by director of music theatre Victoria Bussert, the musical familiarizes audiences with these four characters entirely through song, and the audience sees how the characters’ lives come together in a very coincidental but impactful way at the end of the show. 

Because the cast only requires four people, “Ordinary Days” is double-casted to allow more students to perform and experience working in Playhouse Square. Senior music theatre student Jessi Kirtley, who plays Claire in the Uptown Cast, said that seeing the other cast perform helps her adjust her character choices. 

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“It’s nice to see how a show is going from the outside when you get to watch the other cast,” Kirtley said. “When you’re rehearsing a show, you never get to see what it looks like, but now we kind of do get to see what it looks like on a different cast of people.” 

BWMT’s production of “Ordinary Days” features a minimalistic set, allowing more intimacy between the actors and the audience. The set pieces are made from clear acrylic so that they can become different pieces in different scenes, and one piano accompanies the actors for the duration of the show. 

Kirtley said that each character can mold the space in whatever way helps them to tell their story to the audience in an impactful way. She said that for her, this production requires vulnerability because the actors bring much of themselves to the characters.  

“With how stripped-back everything is, it allows the audience to just see four real people instead of four larger-than-life characters,” Kirtley said. “I think that really works in an intimate setting because then it feels more like conversations.” 

Senior music theatre student Danny Bó, who plays Warren in the Downtown Cast, said that the production does not rely on the set to make an impact on the audience. Though performers may find it easier to have props and sets to play with, having a minimalistic set provides an exciting challenge for the performers. 

“I think it relies fully on the actor to make the scene possible, and the goal of the actor is to have the audience join them without any confusion,” Bó said. “It’s a really cool challenge to have as an actor. … You have to create what you’re going to work with, with what you’re given.” 

Bó described “Ordinary Days” as a thesis on beauty and looking at the ordinary things in life, reflected in his character’s line: “Things aren’t beautiful all on their own. Beautiful comes from a reflection. Beautiful takes a person who makes a connection.” 

Bó said: “He [Warren] sees so much deeper into life stories, and that really relates to me. I think everything has a meaning and a purpose. … I’m kind of materialistic in a way, so I hold on to a lot of … sentimental, tangible things.” 

The cast of “Ordinary Days” consists of eight upper-level students, six of whom mark this show as their last BW performance. Bó said that this show is an excellent send-off because it allows him to latch on to a positive character who lives in the same city he plans to live in after graduation. 

“He sees so much beauty in the world, and I think that [perspective] is so important to have,” Bó said. “I’m, you know, moving freshly into the city and it’s nice to have somebody who has a … more positive, glass-half-full perspective.” 

Kirtley said this performance comes at a great time — right before the actors graduate. 

“All of us are nearing the end of our journey here, and for us to bring something that’s so personal and so real just feels very much like a nice cover to the book,” Kirtley said. “So, I’m just trying to soak it all in and have as much fun as possible and have as much growth as I can.” 

When leaving the theater, Kirtley said she hopes audiences are inspired to look at the little things in life and to feel that they are not alone in the world. 

“The most impactful pieces of art are impactful because of the way that you see them from your own personal human experience,” Kirtley said. “I hope people leave the theater feeling seen and feeling represented and also feeling like the whole world is there to connect with you.” 

“Ordinary Days” runs Mar. 15-17 in Playhouse Square’s Helen Theater. There is a limited number of tickets available, and tickets can be purchased here.  

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