Penn State Centre Stage Presents ‘Titanic’
No, this is not the iconic Leo flick we all know and love.
Penn State Centre Stage’s production of Titanic, written by Maury Yeston and directed and choreographed by Courtney Young, takes the audience on an unforgettable voyage about the most famous disaster in the twentieth century. The cast features a combination of theatre students and faculty, all of whom play real people who were on the RMS Titanic in 1912.
Every part of this show immerses you in the luxury ship’s tragic tale. The stage is U-shaped, with the seating wrapped around in a semi-circle, so that the audience members feel as though they’re also passengers on the ship. Upon entering the theater, each audience member receives a name of a person that boarded the Titanic, and are able to check if they survived after the show.
Titanic features a small cast, so many of the actors play multiple different characters. With a show that heavily focuses on social class, some actors switch from a first class passenger to a third class passenger between scenes. “The original production had over 40 people in the cast, which translates to being very expensive,” said director Courtney Young. “So we decided to create a chamber version, which is just an ensemble, with a smaller cast of 25 that play multiple parts in the production.”
The actors perfectly embody their English and Irish dialects, which makes it easy for the audience to tell where each character originated. Every passenger on the boat expresses their excitement for a better life in America. That makes it easy for the audience to get involved with the lives of the newlyweds, the rich millionaires, and the single pregnant woman.
I was so intrigued by the many different relationships going on in the play, I only noticed towards the end that there were no Jack and Rose. I was only ever so slightly disappointed, but there was the cutest old couple that would melt your heart so it made up for the absence of the famous love story. No, the boat doesn’t actually sink, but the cast doesn’t need a sinking ship to make the disaster of Titanic believable.
“I didn’t feel that it was necessary to raise the deck of the ship,” said Young, “I think the audience is imaginative enough to know what is happening and anything else on stage would pale in comparison to what the audience could imagine. I think it’s effective nonetheless. The show is not about a sinking ship. We all know the ship sinks. What it’s about for me is the Ship Of Dreams. The dream was big enough to leave everything behind to create a bigger life for themselves.”
The play is wildly different from the movie, so come to the Pavilion Theater with open eyes and be prepared to see a new perspective of Titanic. Around 1200 people died in the sinking of Titanic, but that number is more than a statistic “It is easy to become numb to those numbers and forget that every one of those people mattered. Every one of those people had a dream. This show honors the individuals who were on board the Titanic,” said Young.
With entertaining musical numbers and a heartfelt storyline, Titanic is a must see this October. Tickets are still available at Penn State Downtown Ticket Center, Eisenhower Box Office, and the Bryce Jordan Center. For additional information, visit the School of Theatre.