Theatre St. Thomas will close out its 2019-20 season with its smallest cast of the year taking on a story about the changes that occur from adolescence to adulthood in Scooter Thomas Makes It to the Top of the World.
Director Ben Smith, a fourth-year interdisciplinary honours in fine arts student at St. Thomas University, will bring the writing of American playwright Peter Parnell to life through a two-person cast in the Black Box Theatre from March 12 to 14.
The story follows Scooter Thomas and his best friend Dennis Wright as they navigate their different world views about growing up. It explores the question of what it means to make it to the top of the world and how we measure success as humans.
Third-year English and Great Books major Tom Woolsey, who plays the role of Dennis, said, over Facebook Messenger, the story is one that many university students can relate to.
“It’s a young man reminiscing about his childhood and his best friend. I think there’s just something so sweet baked into the core of this play … It’s a play about loving a friend and it shows you that love through a series of often surprisingly poignant memories.”
Woolsey works opposite of fourth-year English with a concentration in drama major Madigan Donovan-Downs, who plays the role of Scooter. Both actors said they thoroughly enjoyed the dynamic of working as a smaller cast.
“It allows for so much one-on-one time with the director to fine-tune and rework moments in the play. It’s such a thrill to be working so profoundly,” said Donovan-Downs over Facebook Messenger.
“It affords a degree of focus, or at least simplicity, to the process that I really appreciated having,” added Woolsey.
In his lead role, Woolsey said Donovan-Downs brings a strong presence to the big dreams and exuberant soul of Scooter Thomas.
“He brings a palpable energy to Scooter’s snarky attitude that I think audiences will really enjoy,” said Woolsey.
Meanwhile, Donovan-Downs said you can expect to be hit hard by a passionate performance from Woolsey in his supporting role.
“Tom’s talent is so breathtaking and his understanding of the show beyond its written words, and the emotion he puts into those words is such an inspiration for me,” said Donovan-Downs.
However, Woolsey said the strength of the play lies within the chemistry of the two characters, opposed to their individual distinctions.
“The play is driven by Dennis and Scooter’s relationship. I think Dennis would have been a different guy if he’d never been friends with Scooter, but I also think something about Dennis was always going to drive him toward Scooter,” said Woolsey.
Both actors said the audience can expect an emotional good time and an honest story.
“The show truly has a bit of everything. It is timely for many people who are just coming into their adult lives now and may not feel like they have everything figured out yet,” said Donovan-Downs.
“To people whose childhoods happened a long time ago, it’s a reminder of friendship and how hard it is to say goodbye.”