Student production ‘Quite Dead’ offers an escape from the issues of the real world

Photo courtesy of Quite Dead

USC Brand New Theatre is currently showcasing its most recent production, Quite Dead, an original student composition written by Dezi Gallegos and directed by Marisa Caddick and Taylor Rivers. Featuring a small cast of eight students, the play premiered Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m. at Cammilleri Hall, and runs throughout the weekend with its final show taking place Sunday.

The play explores the dynamic of a well-to-do British family, and uncovers some of the trials and tribulations that are indelibly associated with most family reunions.  More specifically, this dark comedy is a tale centered on the life of Charles Logan, a fictional young man who sets off to visit his family after three years of estrangement. Through a skillful blend of humor, absurdism and satire, the story ultimately represents the idea that things aren’t always as they seem.

Gallegos, a senior majoring in film and television production, intended for the piece to be less about exploring greater social messages or themes, and more a fun escape from reality. Inspired by British comedies like Monty Python and Fawlty Towers, Gallegos wanted to create something that was silly, amusing and entertaining.

“I actually wrote this play when I was 16 as I was nearing the end of high school,” Gallegos said. “I was driving to school one day and a few lines popped into my head. Before I knew it, I had a script.”

The show’s co-directors, Marisa Caddick, a sophomore majoring in theatre and narrative studies, and Taylor Rivers, a sophomore majoring in theatre, worked side by side to bring Gallegos’ vision to life. Each individual contributed their own style and voice to the characters, complementing one another in the directing process to create an engaging production.

“It’s been great to get to work with Taylor,” Caddick said. “We’ve been friends for over a year and work really well together.”

The production stars Evan Macedo, a sophomore majoring in theatre, who plays the role of Charles Logan. Though this was a rather difficult role to master, Macedo was able to find solace in the process of developing and understanding such a complex character.

“This character has been really challenging for me,” Macedo said. “It’s so larger than life in so many ways, and attempting to grapple with that and making it real was really difficult, but also an equally exciting and rewarding experience.”

“It was really fun to be able to work on a production with a bunch of friends,” Rivers said. “We’ve all learned a lot from each other throughout the process, and it’s been helpful to receive constructive feedback from people that I trust and care about.”

Quite Dead’s remaining shows will take place at 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, all in Cammilleri Hall. Tickets are available online, and $5 donations are suggested at the door.