‘Picnic’ lively, but cliché

USI Shield Staff

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Millie (Katie Jones) and Hal (Antonio King) get to know each other while the rest of the cast pimps for the Labor Day picnic.

Millie (Katie Jones) and Hal (Antonio King) get to know each other while the rest of the cast pimps for the Labor Day picnic.

A co-production of the New Harmony Theatre and the USI Theatre offered a lively performance of a linear plot in their adaptation of William Inge’s Picnic.

Picnic’s plot revolves around two middle-aged women with conjoined yards running boarding houses.

Flora Owens, a widow in her 40’s, runs her boarding house with the help of her two teenage daughters, Madge and Millie. One is admired for her looks, while the other showcases her intelligence.

The plot thickens when a handsome drifter, Hal, arrives from Kansas to work for food in the adjacent home and takes a liking to Madge.

Conflict comes into play when Madge falls for Hal, despite her mother’s disapproval and her boyfriend Alan’s warnings.

Millie watches it all unfold while wishing to be the “pretty sister.”

The obviously experienced cast brought each character to life on stage Wednesday night in the cast’s first performance in the USI Performance Center.

The standout performance of the night was Antonio King’s depiction of Hal.

The audience swooned for him right along with Madge. His seamless deliverance of lines with animations to match told the audience he was indeed the strong, charming hero of the play.

Madge’s adoration of Hal shined through Presley Roy’s eyes, and Alan’s jealousy could be heard through Craig Belwood’s voice.

Katie Jones gave a strong representation of a tomboy little sister wild enough to drink whiskey with the boys while wearing a flowing purple dress.

Makeup and costume design accurately represented the 1950’s setting with flowing ankle-length skirts and cuffed jeans over classic Chuck Taylors.

Next to the performances, the set was the most impressive part of the production.

With seats being so close to the stage, the audience felt like they were sitting in the conjoined yards in the middle of two hand-made “houses” right along with the actors.

Different times of day were projected onto the backdrop to further improve the already realistic set.

Overall, USI’s performance of Picnic was a lively, vivid and emotionally invested adaptation of a cliché plot.