Theatre students explore meaning of time, life in 'Tuck Everlasting'

Winnie (Peyton Daugherty) and Jesse Tuck (Christian Shepherd) sing during a musical carnival scene for the theatre department’s production of “Tuck Everlasting” at Ethington Theatre.

Photos by Ralph Freso / Slideshow

“You don’t need to live forever, you just need to live.”

It's a theme that speaks volumes in the College of Arts and Media’s last theatre production of the spring semester, “Tuck Everlasting.” Grand Canyon University theatre students will make their final appearance this academic year on the Ethington Theatre stage for the two-weekend show, opening at 7:30 p.m. today.

The play features a family, the Tucks, that unknowingly stumbles on the fountain of youth. While traveling through the woods, they drink from a spring that turns them immortal, and they become stuck in their young bodies.

Their secret is discovered by an 11-year-old girl, Winnie (Peyton Daugherty), when she catches Jesse (Christian Shepherd), the youngest of the Tucks, drinking from the spring. Immediately, she is enchanted by them and the concept of living forever.

The Tucks (from left), Angus (Cooper Townley), Mae (Grace Cox), Jesse (Christian Shepherd) and Miles (Noah Darfus), drink from the magical forest water.

“She just wants to see the world,” Daugherty said. “She goes on this adventure with the Tuck family and does all these super fun things she wouldn’t normally do.

“Little kid roles are super fun because they let me go back to my childhood and show another true authentic side of myself and bring that to life on stage.”

But unlike the curious and innocent Winnie, the Tuck family has become complacent and numb to the excitement life offers since they don't experience the milestones that only old age brings.

“They have been granted so much time,” show director Claude Pensis said. “But they are in such a different place that they can only interact with the world for a certain amount of time until everyone else has aged and they haven’t. It’s a numeric life the Tucks lead.”

Winnie (Peyton Daugherty) shows Jesse Tuck (Christian Shepherd) her pet toad during a scene in the musical production.

Jesse is relentlessly determined to find joy in discovering new things that come with living through different decades. But being stuck in such a lonely situation, he offers the spring water to Winnie for her to become immortal with him, and she is left questioning if living forever is really worth it.

The cast poses the question of endless life to the audience through cheerful singing and enthusiastic dancing. Perfect harmonies, bright-colored outfits and vibrant scenery color the stage to produce a lively atmosphere, presenting another theme in which, even in serious life situations, one can find joy and lightheartedness.

“Music is one of the best ways to connect with people and one of the easiest ways to move people,” said Grace Cox, playing the role of Mae Tuck. “In a story like this, you get these more concentrated character moments where you really see what the character wants and that moves people a lot. It is a more direct way of saying things, and it’s more accessible to people.

Ben Starling, as The Man in the Yellow Suit, and the ensemble show off colorful costumes and dazzling moves.

Among the upbeat music, colorful costumes and stage props, the play has had a significant impact on the cast in challenging them personally to reflect on the concept of time and how life should be treated.

“As a kid, you’re like, ‘I want to live forever, that sounds amazing.’ But as an adult, you see that there is so much beauty in the fact that life does end,” added Cox. “The one universal experience we all have is being born and dying. You can’t have living without dying."

It is an especially valuable lesson for Shepherd, senior theatre major, as he makes his final debut in a GCU theatre production before graduating.

“There is a lot of highs and lows you go through all over the spectrum of life within this one show,” Shepherd shared. “This is the last thing I get to do at GCU. Life is crazy because you really have no idea what’s going to happen day to day. The statement, ‘You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live,’ reminds me to live in the moment, live in the now.”

The ensemble performs a carnival scene.

Immortality can bring endless adventure and continuous discovery of new things, but it also can take away life’s full potential and experiencing the old age moments that complete one’s journey.

“As college students, we are so fixated on the future of getting out of college but also get caught up living in the past,” said Ben Sparling, who plays the role of The Man in the Yellow Suit. “The first word that comes to mind with all of this is ‘present.’

“After the curtains close, it’s going to be sad, but I can say this has reminded me to live while the curtains are still open.”

GCU staff writer Izabela Fogarasi can be reached at [email protected]

***

IF YOU GO:

What: "Tuck Everlasting"

Where: Ethington Theatre

When: 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, with more shows coming up at 7:30 p.m. March 29 and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. March 30.

Tickets: Click here

***

Related content:

GCU News: All-Latina cast tackles life's twists, turns in 'Real Women Have Curves' - GCU News

GCU News: Dance students dazzle on stage in final Student Spotlight - GCU News

GCU News: Loss of vision, hearing isn't final note for GCU alumnus, pianist - GCU News

Calendar

Calendar of Events

M Mon

T Tue

W Wed

T Thu

F Fri

S Sat

S Sun

3 events,

2 events,

1 event,

3 events,

3 events,

5 events,

3 events,

1 event,

2 events,

0 events,

1 event,

0 events,

1 event,

2 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

3 events,

5 events,

0 events,

2 events,

1 event,

0 events,

3 events,

3 events,

3 events,

1 event,

0 events,

GCU Magazine

Bible Verse

From (Christ) the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work (Ephesians 4:16)

To Read More: www.verseoftheday.com/