Into the great wide open

Now playing the Student Center’s Ragan Theater is professor John Graham’s simply entertaining rendition of Eugene O’Neill’s classic comedy Ah, Wilderness.

Ah, Wilderness is the projection of experiences O’Neill wished would’ve taken place in the earlier years of his life-his first love, family conflicts and experiments with rebellion-through the eyes of the lead character, Richard Miller. Once Richard’s future father-in-law bans him from being with his true love, the rebellion begins.

UVSC’s production of Ah, Wilderness is perfectly well rounded. Playing Richard is Wesley Tolmann, whose performance of the "nice guy trying to be bad guy" is smooth and very fun to watch. His soft-on-the-inside, trying-to-be-rough-on-the-outside parents are played perfectly by the mesmerizing Jeremy Minagro and "everybody’s mom" Laura Garner. And with a large cast of memorable side characters, Ah, Wilderness lacks nothing in the acting department (pun intended).

Though the set appears cold and insufficient as one enters the theater, upon seeing it applied, it fits the feel, mood and purpose of the show exactly. The simple design reemphasizes the pure, simple-natured theme of the play.

At no point during Ah, Wilderness does it feel slow or lagging; it’s pacing keeps you interested through the entire two-hour performance. When the lights come up again, one’s left with a warm taste of early 1900s Americana and a reassurance of why families and parents hold an influential crucial role in this society.

Ah, Wilderness finishes its run this week with performances Monday through Saturday, with the exception of Halloween on Wednesday. For more information, visit Campus Connection or call (801) 863-8797.

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