This archived article was written by: Kayla Bradley
Is it possible to create something so magical that it practically removes one from the present world they live in? This is the goal of Todd Olsen, director of College of Eastern Utah’s upcoming production “Deathtrap” by Ira Levin.
“I love creating an artistic whole, pulling all the elements together: lights, music, actors and the audience. Theatre is very ethereal. It happens, there, in the moment.” He has directed about 22 shows while working at CEU over the past 16 years.
“Deathtrap” is a shocking thriller about the lengths people will go for success. When Olsen was asked to direct the next show at CEU, he wanted to do something that would scare the audience since it would run over Halloween weekend.
CEU presented “Deathtrap” in 1982 and Olsen had the opportunity to see the production, which he admits feeling fear during.
He felt he owed it to share that with the community today. The play is well crafted and takes many twists and turns. “Deathtrap” opens on October 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the Geary Theatre. It will run October 27, 28, 29, 31 and Nov.1.
“I hope my actors learn that theatre is an art, not an activity. We have created a lasting memory which they can take with them.” Olsen also encourages his actors to see other productions. “You cannot just do it, you need to see it as well.” He invites everyone to come to the show. “Come prepared to enjoy two hours in the company of these people on stage. I hope the audience can walk away having a good experience at the Geary Theatre.”
“I try to take all the worry myself and make sure other people don’t worry,” reports Michael Mutchler, stage manager of “Deathtrap.” Mutchler is busy keeping everyone organized and making sure everything gets done. ” It’s amazing all that comes together to make a brilliant show.”” He has learned you must read the script over and over again until you are very familiar with it. He has also learned about directing. Mutchler is a sophomore at CEU and hopes to pursue further theatre training at Utah State. “It has been a massive learning experience. Even though you’re not an actor, you’re still part of the family. It’s very comforting.”
Sidney Bruhl, played by CEU’s Alex King, is a talented playwright who is undergoing a dry period. As a result Bruhl is willing to do whatever it takes for a good hit. King has really enjoyed working on this production. “I’ve learned to relax. Once I relaxed into the part of the character it became more fun.” He has also loved working with Todd and enjoyed learning the variety of different directors. King has been involved in theatre since he was five years old. “Acting is life, life is acting. It Ãs the way to step out of this life into a different life.”
Zach Reynolds is playing Clifford Anderson, a young, good-looking writer. “Clifford is a confusing character. He changes a lot.” Reynolds enjoys working with a small cast, and really enjoys working with Olsen. “Todd has helped me a lot with my character. Would I do it again? Yes.” He learned that every director is different, and you must be willing to change. Reynolds loves the theatre. “So many people think theatre is a business; it is an art for me. Theatre is lying. It is amazing how someone can turn lying into something so wonderful.”
Helga Ten Dorp, played by Chelsea Bingham, is a middle-aged Dutch psychic. “It is very challenging picking up on the psychic vibes. Psychics are very hard to channel.” Bingham says this character is different from any she has ever played. She has played characters with accents before but not anything like Helga.
During the show she learned to adjust to new things. Working with a new director, she learned to “be willing to listen to different points of view and learn new things and change.”
“I am the fifth character needed in all thrillers,” says Scott Westwood of Porter Milgrim, a 54 year-old lawyer. Milgrim adds exposition, moving the idea along. Westwood is a technical theatre major at CEU but enjoys acting. “I’ve always liked to make believe and create characters.” Westwood enjoys working with Olsen. “He focuses on what looks good on stage.”
I have the amazing opportunity of being cast as Myra Bruhl in “Deathtrap.” Myra is a middle-aged woman married to Sidney, a brilliant writer. Olsen has opened my eyes to a whole new world of theatre. Theatre is an ongoing learning process. The cast, crew and director are amazing. I have created so many memories and will cherish this beautiful opportunity for the rest of my life. I think it may be possible to create something magical – it is the power of theatre.