EWU hosts third national production of ‘Pocatello’

By Rosie Perry, Staff Writer

This quarter the EWU theater program is putting on “Pocatello,” written by Samuel D. Hunter and directed by Jadd Davis, EWU graduate and artistic director for Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre.

According to Davis “Pocatello” is a heartbreaking comedy centering around Eddie, who manages an Italian chain restaurant in this small, unexceptional, town in Idaho. “It is a meditation on the changes and challenges facing small-town America in the 21st century,” Davis said. “We are in this town which was, at one time, a thriving western small city that has become this sort of generic Wal-Martville.”

Davis continued, “They [the characters] are examining their stuck little lives in this stuck little town they don’t know how to escape.”

This play was selected by theater department director Sarah Goff and Davis. Davis said he was asked to come back and direct this year for the second time and he is a big fan of new pieces. “Pocatello” falls into this category as it has only been performed two other times nationwide, once in New York and once in Chicago.

Hunter is from Moscow, Idaho, and Davis said he is one of the biggest rock stars in the playwriting world right now.

“There is a significant local connection that the playwright himself is from the state that he is writing about,” Davis said. “Cheney and Moscow is essentially that same world, so it felt very close to home. The fact that we got to work on this new piece by a writer who had a connection to the area and it offers up some really, really challenging and wonderful roles for college students to play.”

“Pocatello” features several students from the theater department and others. Senior theater major Eli Drushella was cast as Eddie. “I am really excited to get audiences to feel how I feel about this play. It’s really hard to read through and I just want to work that out and make it clear and beautiful for an audience to see,” Drushella said.

Seniors Carly Stewart and Hannah Bancroft were also cast as key roles in this play. Stewart is playing Becky who is the daughter of Bancroft’s character, Tammy.

“I really just enjoy the storyline. I am from a really small town which is slowly morphing into what we’re seeing here in Pocatello and I love telling something that is so easily relatable, that claustrophobia of not wanting to leave or wanting to leave, so just being able to relate that to the public is what I am excited about,” Stewart said.

Bancroft is new to the stage this quarter and agreed with Stewart that the play is very relatable. “It deals with such modern issues of happiness and what it is to be normal and I feel like, especially for my character, the issues are so relatable to everything college students are going through at this time, but also carries with you to when you are making other decisions in life. I am looking forward to sharing that in the story,” Bancroft said.

Pocatello premiers Nov. 13 at 7:30 p.m. and will be shown again on Nov. 14, 20 and 21 at the same time. The play will have a matinee on Nov. 15 at 2 p.m. and will be shown at 5 p.m. on Nov. 19.