‘Airness’ rocks the stage

VWU’s Theatre Department held “Airness,” written by Chelsea Marcantel, from Thursday, March 30 – Sunday, April 2. 

To recap from playscripts.com; “Airness” follows its lead Nina as she enters her first air guitar competition, thinking taking the win would be easy. Once she befriends a group of charismatic nerds all committed to becoming the next champion, she discovers there’s more to this art form than playing pretend. It’s about finding yourself in your favorite songs and performing with raw joy. 

The show was truly a masterpiece and had the audience laughing from start to finish. The Marlin Chronicle interviewed Quinton Coleman, a sophomore, who played Golden Thunder in “Airness,” alongside Professor of Theatre and Director Dr. Sally Shedd, as well as some audience members. 

Shedd had zero hesitation in picking the show for the spring semester. She got the idea from her friend at the University of Kansas, her alma mater. She was informed the show was a hit with high school and college audiences, so Shedd read over the script.

“After looking over the script, I was sold, this play seemed perfect for us,” Shedd said.

The students playing in the show carried themselves with so much energy, confidence and character. All they looked forward to was their shows, due to all the hard work put into them. 

“We had a lot of rehearsals on our air guitars; learning the actual guitarist, their songs, taking inspiration from their songs, getting down the lines,” Coleman said. 

Coleman originally was working backstage during the productions, so this was his first show in front of an audience, and he loved every second of it. 

We noticed some faculty in the audience as well. Kim Brown, manager of the University Store, went to support Coleman as a prior work-study student. She was amazed by his work. 

Coleman was asked to share his favorite part of the show. “It would, without a doubt, be stripping,” Coleman said.

Coleman’s character pulls his pants down in one of his guitar performances. He first reveals a pair of confederate flag boxers, then a pair of the original American flag boxers and proceeds to shake it behind towards the audience. This part of the piece had the audience in shock. 

Aside from Kim Brown, the Chronicle also interviewed Veronika Murphy, who is also a sophomore. Her favorite part of the show was D Vicious’s debut in the Sprite commercial. “My friends and I were hysterical,” Murphy said. 

Murphy also said she would totally see this show again if it were to ever come back to campus, however, she would love to see a “air guitar jam sesh with more songs.” 

In addition to the music, the costumes, lighting, special effects and props were outstanding. They fit the storyline of the show perfectly; it was so fluid.

Of course, the fluidity in a show takes a lot of time and effort. The cast practiced at least 15 hours a week, not only to work on lines but to choreograph the air guitar performances. 

Coleman informed us that the cast spent a lot of time learning the basics of guitar-playing, something that only the main characters had to partake in. This makes sense: if you’re playing a certain role, you need to know everything about that role. 

The Theatre department puts on major shows every semester, and it is highly encouraged to take the time to watch your peers in their craft. With “Airness,” they put together an amazing show through a lot of effort and heart. Show business is no joke; it takes talent to do what these individuals do. 

“Working in the show is great, and fun, but also hard work,” Shedd said.

By Madison Dzwonkowski