The audience erupted with laughter as Jason, portrayed by freshman Oliver Runyon, wrestled to freedom from his hand puppet, Tyrone.
The Lost Flamingo Theatre Company held a performance of Hand To God in Baker Center Theater Saturday, Nov. 16, and Sunday, Nov. 17.
Each semester, Lost Flamingo puts on four productions. Three of the four productions are plays, and one is a musical. This semester, the group has performed Rocky Horror Picture Show and Hand To God and will perform Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind later in November and 12 Angry Jurors in early December.
The show follows Jason, a boy trying to deal with his father’s death and do right by his mother by participating in her puppetry club at their church. His puppet, Tyrone, begins to come alive in foul-mouthed, crude and seemingly evil ways, from screaming sexually vulgar statements at Jason’s crush to biting the ear off Jason’s bully.
Meanwhile, Jason’s mother is dealing with her own battles, from trying to put together a puppet show for her church to romantically choosing between her pastor and her son’s bully.
Runyon starred as both Jason and his hand puppet, Tyrone. Though most of the cast members held puppets at some point, Runyon held his puppet for almost the entire show and used two different voices to signify the difference in his characters. Jason, along with the rest of the cast, had a country accent while Tyrone had a gritty, louder-sounding voice.
Jason’s mother, Margery, was portrayed by sophomore Steph Schille. Her two love interests, pastor Greg and Timothy, were portrayed by sophomore Ben Wilson and freshman Cam Smith. Jason’s love interest, Jessica, was portrayed by freshman Heylea Allan.
Though the show featured a lot of inappropriate content, it was handled in a dignified and comedic way by the entire cast, and it showed great direction.
Michaela Chilenski, a senior studying media arts and studies, is the president of Lost Flamingo and directed Hand To God along with other shows for Lost Flamingo, including Dog Sees God and Fall of the House of Usher.
Among the rest of the production staff includes the assistant director, Matthew Connell, the stage manager, Connor Sells and the assistant stage manager, Joe Sarfi.
The entire show was set in the church’s nursery and the pastor’s office. The technical crew worked tirelessly on the show, including Maxwell Levitsky on sound design; Andy Wolff on lighting; Emma Adkins on props; and the three stage hands, Maisy Dewitt, Destery Gunther and Evan Hall.
The audience, filling more than half of Baker Center Theater, was filled with family members and friends of the cast and crew, as well as theater enthusiasts and people who knew nothing about the show or the production company.
Aliyah Graham, a freshman studying theater, is a big fan of theatrical shows and really enjoyed Hand To God.
“I really like it,” Graham said. “I wasn’t expecting the twists, and I like how interesting the plot is.”
Devyn Latture, a sophomore studying integrated media, came to the show to see Schille, who is her friend.
“I came in with no expectations because I had never seen anything with Lost Flamingo,” Latture said. “But I’m really impressed with the production. It’s very meticulous all around.”
Harlan Friedman-Romell, a freshman studying integrated media, was surprised to see so many young faces in the cast.
“I think it’s terrific,” Friedman-Romell said. “I’m really surprised because I’m seeing that everyone is either a freshman or sophomore, but it seems they have the presence of people much older. I think it’s incredible, especially the kid playing Jason, who is on another level. I’m definitely going to come to a lot more shows after this one.”