The Ohio State Department of Theatre’s Lab Series will finish out the year with “Goodbye Blue Monday,” presented as a one-man show performed by student Tommy Clabby.
The Lab Series offers students a chance to develop and present their own work, with support from the theatre department. “Goodbye Blue Monday” will be the final show of the semester. The story follows a writer who is confronted by the characters he has created as he deals with ideas on creativity and life.
Clabby, a fourth-year in theatre and communications technology, wrote the play with Tom Murdock, a 2015 OSU theatre graduate. The two took inspiration on the play’s characters from the works of author Kurt Vonnegut, specifically the 1973 novel “Breakfast of Champions,” which is also known as “Goodbye Blue Monday.”
The play purposefully tries to make the audience feel as unsettled as Clabby, the protagonist. Loud, jarring music plays as the audience enters, the lighting surreal and off-color and the set is unconventionally staged, with audience members having to grab their own chairs and find a seat before the show begins.
“My concept was cognitive dissonance,” said Alexandra Davis, director of the performance. “I feel the script is very uncomfortable to listen to. The main character says a lot things purposefully to make the listener uncomfortable. I was trying to mirror discomfort in the script in design.”
Clabby said he had participated in other student’s lab performances in the past, but had never produced his own work before.
“From the management standpoint it has been a lot more interesting,” Clabby said. “I feel like it’s a lot more my project. I helped write it and I saw it from the ground up.”
After preparing the script, Clabby and Murdock asked their friend Davis to direct Clabby in the piece. Davis had worked with both Clabby and Murdock in the past, including directing the two in a short play.
Davis said she enjoyed the opportunity to experiment with new aspects of theater.
“Lab allows for students to test how much you can create,” said Davis, a fourth-year in theatre and strategic communication. “So often as theatre majors we kind of have to pick and choose and oftentimes that pigeonholes artists into a one track thing. The cool thing about lab is it’s given both of us new experiences, like producing.”
Both Clabby and Davis spoke positively about their experiences with the Lab Series, with Davis calling the Lab one of the biggest assets the department of theatre has.
“My freshman year I saw someone do a solo show and I thought there’s absolutely no way I’d ever do a solo show,” Clabby said. “But because of my experience with the lab series over last 4 years I’ve seen people take risks. I’ve taken risks myself. I see this as a very safe space to test limits of creativity.”
“Goodbye Blue Monday” will be performed at 7 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday in the New Works Lab, Room 2060 in The Drake Performance and Event Center. Admission is free, with doors opening at 6 p.m. the night of. Seats are first come, first serve.