‘Los Angeles! … Is Underwater’ opens March 1 at NIU School of Theatre and Dance

• Shows run March 1-4 in the Stevens Building Corner Theatre on the DeKalb campus

Staff Report

DEKALB, Ill. — The West Coast is transferred in all its glitz and glory to the Midwest in this wacked-out new production by the Northern Illinois University School of Theatre and Dance (SoTD).

Los Angeles! … Is Underwater, written by SoTD faculty member Luke Krueger, is the next Studio Series production of their season and will open March 1.

Krueger, writer and director of Los Angeles! … Is Underwater, said his work has been compared to South Park.

I call it hyper-realism,” Krueger said, explaining his work contains extreme characters, but that people will recognize them. “The audience will think, ‘that’s not quite how people are, but it’s close.’”

The premise of Los Angeles! … Is Underwater is that a tidal wave wipes out Hollywood, and the Midwest becomes the new center for movie stars. The persona of the West Coast begins to invade the region in strange ways. A bizarre mix of characters shows up, each with a definite idea of what the ideal new actor should be.

Krueger explained that one of his main characters, Chastity, is an Indiana native and artistic idealist, and very unhappy with the sudden influx of actors. She despises artistic “sell-outs,” people who compromise their art for a big paycheck, believing pure art cannot be mainstream.

Krueger explained: “I think we’ve all been through that, where we see something that’s avant-garde, and it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, I liked that,’ and you really didn’t — you hated it.”

His play also takes aim at fanatic leaders, like acting gurus. Krueger satirized the school of thought that promotes actors going to extremes to “become” their character. Some actors actually hurt themselves trying to get into character, said Krueger, when it’s supposed to be acting.

Still actively writing, Krueger has already published his next play, Copyright Sullivan: The Place Where People Come to Die, which will be available for sale for $5 at all performances of Los Angeles! … is Underwater!. All proceeds will benefit the SoTD Student Advisory Committee.

Los Angeles! … Is Underwater will run March 1-4, in the Stevens Building Corner Theatre on the DeKalb campus. Weeknight and Saturday performances start at 8 p.m. with a Sunday matinee at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 and are available only at the door.

From the Feb. 29-March 6, 2012, issue

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