“Niagara Falls” opens at EWU


Colleen Ford

"Niagara Falls" is EWU Theatre’s latest production . It’s a light, fun play that is sure to entertain its audiences.

By Erik Rotness, A&F Editor

All sad words of tongue and pen aside, students can experience what might have been in EWU Theatre’s portal to “Niagara Falls” by Steve Yockey, opening on May 10.

“It starts, then it’s like a rollercoaster ride, and it’s over 90 minutes later,” said Sara Goff, Theatre and Film Department interim chair and the play’s director.

Attendees will be seated on the stage for the no-intermission story of a couple that wasn’t really meant to be. Part one of the play takes place during a shotgun-honeymoon in a hotel suite overlooking Niagara Falls. The couple, Avery and Jack, find the chalk outline of a body in the room acting as a portal to an alternate universe of what could have been. The couple travel through the portal and examine alternate selves.

The short production sums up that life is not about living with regret and that even though people have a tendency to want to protect themselves from being vulnerable, the worst thing that someone can do is become static, according to Goff.

Junior Jacqueline Swanson, who plays Avery, says “Niagara Falls” is about coming to a crossroads and doing something different.

“Avery … she’s this type A kind of perfectionist, but she made a somewhat impulsive decision to marry Jack, who’s this kind of wild card,” Swanson said. “(He’s) a little bit of a party animal, and she’s like, oh s*** … should I have done that?”

Senior MJ Daly has a more romantic view of the play.

“It’s an exploration of love and appreciating the life that you have and appreciating the life that you could have,” Daly said.

Daly plays Linda the concierge, a neurotic and overachieving character who is afraid of messing up and obsessed with making sure everyone has a perfect experience.

“Every time something goes mildly awry, she freaks out about it,” Daly said.

According to Daly, cast members for “Niagara Falls” were on a “professional schedule,” meaning they had four to five weeks for rehearsal.

“Coming into Niagara I was like, ‘wow there’s a lot of new people in the cast’ … to have to pull it together this quickly … I’ve been incredibly impressed,” Daly said.

Junior Tre Terry will make his EWU debut in “Niagara Falls” playing Dan. One line of Dan’s in particular stood out to him as he read through the script.  

“He says, ‘I guess I never was afraid to take a risk and fail big,’” Terry said. “And the more I’m getting to know Dan and discover him … that’s kind of how he approaches everything in life.”

The play is an ensemble of 12 and includes singing, dancing and contemporary acting styles all mixed into one.

Live music will be performed on stage and was chosen by Goff from bands performing at the Pickathon Festival in Oregon. While listening to music in preparation for the 2019 festival, she chose songs she enjoyed and had students learn them for the show.  

Goff chose Niagara Falls after meeting Yockey at the 2018 regional Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

Yockey, a playwright based out of Los Angeles, also serves as a writer and producer for the television series “Supernatural.”

“I just clicked with him on a personal and artistic level,” Goff said. “I just made the determination that I respected his work and I was going to do one of his plays.”

“Niagara Falls” made sense for EWU here and now because it was originally written for college students, and it was light, comedic, romantic and fun for spring, according to Goff. She also says it’s important for people to come together and laugh instead of just sitting at home watching Netflix.

“I binge-watch a lot of Netflix … that’s a very solitary experience,” Goff said. “But when we come into the theatre, it’s a group of people who have decided, ‘for the next 90 minutes we’re just going to do this together.’ And there’s something really unique about that level of concentration and goodwill.”