By Megan Matthews
Grand Rapids Community College actors have been preparing for their upcoming production of “Lobby Hero”, which opens at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 12 at GRCC’s Spectrum Theater.
The play takes place in New York City, pre-9/11, and follows four main characters connected through a traumatic homicide. The pivotal character, Jeff, is a night shift security guard whose job is one of the only things he has going for him in the big city, despite insisting that he just “hasn’t made it yet.” William, Jeff’s boss, is the brother of a man arrested for murder, which causes him to reevaluate his sense of family and morals. Finally, the last main character includes two police officers, Bill and Dawn, who play with the idea of justice and what it means to them within the show’s narrative as they investigate the homicide.
“The interesting thing is they all have different perspectives on how to really deal with it,” said Assistant Director Yesenia Cotto, 22 of Grand Rapids. “There are themes of Black History when it comes to the police force and you have aspects of the #MeToo movement, so it feels especially important in this day and age to bring that to light.”
The actors and stage crew have been working on this production since auditions ended in October. Rehearsals started soon after that in November with brief pauses for holiday breaks.
“There are some people in this show that this is their very first production so to see them have their first experience and to watch the whole development is such a dramatic change and to see that is absolutely incredible,” Cotto said.
The actors’ standard rehearsal process consisted of about five rehearsals a week all lasting roughly three hours each with the exception of their first tech rehearsal which lasted about nine hours.
“It’s hard work but also so fun to be a part of the process if you really feel prepared for it,” said Theater Program Director Tom Kaechele. “If you are just winging it, it can be kind of scary.”
“Honestly though I am most excited to have these four actors create some wonderfully nuanced characters that will cause an audience to reflect on their own feelings about certain issues,” Kaechele said.
GRCC’s Spectrum Theater is located at 160 Fountain St. NE. Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for GRCC faculty and staff, and $14 for the public.