Anyone strolling through Memorial Hall at some point in the past few weeks has most likely heard laughter, shouts, singing or booming voices emanating from the various rehearsal rooms scattered throughout the building. 

Those noises coming from rehearsals for the Department of Theater and Dance’s production of Molière’s “The Imaginary Invalid,” directed by Assistant Professor of Theater Abigail Killeen with the help of Assistant Director Anna Morton ’15.

The show—which first premiered at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2012—is an adaptation of French playwright Moliere’s 1673 comedy. According to Morton, Bowdoin students will find it “funny and accessible.”

“I’ve had a lot of fun working on it so far,” she said.

Morton jumped at the opportunity to assist on the show, albeit at the last minute. She explained that Killeen looked for help in the first few days of the semester, asking if anyone would be willing to assist her on the show because Killeen was acting in a professional show off-campus.

“She told me about her vision for the show,” said Morton. “She was interested in letting someone have a more hands on experience and she was like, ‘I feel you could handle it.’ I said I wanted do it and it happened quickly.”

Morton studied dramaturgy at the Williamstown Theater Festival over the summer is currently enrolled in a course on directing taught by Professor of Theater Davis Robinson. She said it has been valuable to have this “real world experience” with directing.

“There have been a couple of rehearsals where Abby hasn’t been able to be there and it’s been interesting for me to figure out how to command the room,” said Morton.

While some might find it odd or difficult to direct their friends, Morton has found it engaging.

“It’s fun to look at my friends from a different perspective,” said Morton. “It’s fun to watch them grow.”

The actors agree that the process has been rewarding so far.

“It’s a really great show,” said Trevor Murray ’16. “The comedy in it is phenomenal.”

The show is challenging for Murray, who plays three characters, but he is enjoying it anyway.

“There’s something very fun about trying to bring three characters to life in a unique way,” he said.

Murray said that he has benefited from working with Killeen.

“She’s great,” said Murray. “She really knows what she wants. She has a real vision for how she wants the play to come together and she is phenomenal at giving very specific advice on how to improve our scenes.”

“She’s so enthusiastic about the theater world,” Morton said.

Morton said that having a dual relationship with Killeen—student and assistant director—has been an interesting experience.

“It’s cool to be her student, while working with her in a more official capacity,” said Morton. “I get different viewpoints and she has been so inclusive with me, keeping me involved in the process. Any big decision—she consults me.”

Evan Horwitz ’15, who was pre-cast in the role of Argan, the typical main role in the show, hesitated to declare himself the lead or anchor of the show.

“It’s a show that really has a nice ensemble feel and it only really pops and it’s only really funny when we’re all working together and we’re all on the same page,” said Horwitz.
Horwitz also noted one of the show’s greatest strengths is the cast members’ varying levels of theater experience.

“It adds a life to the show that we have first years and sophomores and seniors and juniors. We have a really nice group dynamic with a lot of different people,” he said.

Murray also revealed his biggest worry about the show—that the audience members might not enjoy themselves—but said he was confident that the cast would entertain.

“You know, I think everyone has this inherent fear that a show is not going to be received well, but that’s just because you don’t really have this outside view of a show once you become so invested in it,” he said. “But I think the show is going to be received really well.”
Morton said she also has her fair share of nerves.

“I’ve never had this experience of not being in a show, and having so much invested in it,” said Morton. “I’m just nervous, period. Now it’s up to these actors, and I have to take a leap of faith.”

The cast members all said they were excited to see what happens when they take the Wish Theater stage November 6, 7 and 8.

“We’ve been having a lot of fun,” said Horwitz. “Really, we’ve been playing.”