Ordinary Days, from the Cardinal Stage Co. is a musical with a happy ending. It’s available on zoom through Sunday February 21st. You’ll find more about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason, played by Julian Diaz-Granados is handing out colored scraps of paper containing catchy philosophical quotes. There’s a back-drop of Greenwich Village. The Village stays static as various characters walk before and behind him. Jason’s not having much luck though grad student Deb, Nina Domville absent mindedly snags one of them on her walk by. Julian Diaz-Granados was recently on stage as Jack in Cardinal’s Newsies. Nina got her degree in 2020. She was in IU’s Pippin and in the summer-season was Emily in Our Town, and a contestant for the 25th…Spelling Bee.
Deb drops a book of the notes for her thesis on Virginia Wolf and only later--after much musical frustration-- realizes that she has Jason’s e-mail address on that colorful note. She contacts him and they agree to meet at the Monet painting in the Metropolitan Museum. Once again, Deb is musically perplexed by the organization of the museum. They do eventually get together at that Monet.
They’re next destination is a Starbucks. Deb expertly and in considerable detail orders a coffee while Jason lamely asks for tea. With coffee and tea in hand the two share their stories. Deb is working on a thesis about Virginia Wolf though she really doesn’t like Wolf and her advisor thinks her thesis is weak. Jason is working, handing out philosophical notes for a friend who’s in jail. He’s a gay guy working for a friend. She’s a grad student looking for a thesis. They’re quite a pair.
The other couple is Claire, Keyla Marie Eilers and Warren, Henry Miller. Keyla got her IU degree in 2016. She’s been seen as Belle in Cardinal’s Beauty and the Beast. Her bio’ suggests that she’d like to “bring joy…” to all of us. The character, Claire is an independent working city girl. Miller got his IU degree in 2020 and he appeared on IU’s stage in Pippin, Dames at Sea and Urinetown. His character, Warren works at a job in the World Trades Center.
Claire and Warren’s relationship is fraught with difficulties. As they bring wine to a dinner, she likes white and he likes red. As they walk, it starts to rain which messes up her hair. He proposes marriage and she’s not quite ready to consider accepting. She arrives at the dinner by herself with wet hair and the bottle of white wine. The couple does get married and they settle into an apartment together. They plan for the future, perhaps a dog, maybe a baby. Warren has a stop at his office in the World Trade Center and he perishes the conflagration of 9/11.
Did I say that this play has a happy ending? Well, Claire is adjusting to Warren’s death and she’s coming to terms with it in a positive, a good way. She’s remembering him fondly and yet putting their experience behind her. It has a ring of the happy or at least the positive.
Warren, meanwhile is preparing to jump off a building when Claire appears to stop him. He’s still got those philosophical scraps of paper with him and she encourages him to toss them instead of himself. People in the street are happy to get these brightly colored slogans. Later, in a visit to the museum Warren encourages Claire to look more deeply into a painting. She does and it’s a victory for both when she sees that deeper red of the apple. A happy ending indeed.
Ordinary Days by Adam Gwon shows just what can be done with a creative zoom production. New York City though often static, is very much in evidence. There are street scenes, restaurant and interior scenes, subway scenes and even black outs to suggest passages of time. There is not a green screen in sight. Cardinal’s producing artistic director Kate Galvin directs. Stage manager Corey Hollinger does video production, editing and audio engineering. Robin Hornbostal is the sound editor and designer. Alyssa Gomez is the outside expert. The pianist and musical director is IU Theatre’s Ray Fellman.
At home in front of the computer, I’m George Walker.