An Inside Scoop on Regent University’s “On the Verge” Play from Hannah Genberg
Hannah Genberg is a senior at Regent University studying theater and recently had the opportunity to play Alexandria in Regent’s production of “On the Verge” this winter. She has been invested in plays since second grade, and one of her favorite things is working with power tools to build sets and acting on stage. Hannah explained the best part of theater, saying, “It’s fun to get to be a storyteller and to tell storytelling through a different means for others to see.” Her recent experience was full of memories, and Hannah took the time to talk with me about some of the things that stood out most.
What is the story about?
“On the Verge” is a historical, comedic play by Eric Overmyer that depicts the adventures of three women from 1955 who are entrusted to explore the land of Terra Incognita by traveling back in time to 1889. Throughout their venture, the girls start finding mysterious objects, and they keep receiving strange phenomenons, which help them realize that they’re not just traveling through the land but through time to learn more about the world around them while meeting some interesting people along the way. When asked about the audition process, Hannah explained that she usually goes for all the “generic roles” and waits to hear back.
What’s the cast like?
Although there are five main actors on the stage, the performance is not limited to such a small group. “We have the director, assistant stage manager, lighting tech, scenic, costume designers, and the sound designer, and they all have the people that work under them.” She explained that the cast is so thankful for the people working behind the scenes, especially when it comes to costume changes in this production. “This is one of the fastest fashion change shows because the three of us women are onstage almost all the time, but this is difficult because we are going from Victorian 1950s garb. I enjoy my costumes because I get to wear a skirt with pockets, and at the beginning of the performance, my jacket has massive mutton sleeves. It is my first time ever wearing a wig for a show, but I get to wear comfy pants in act 2.” Hannah shared that the plays usually consist of one musical and one period piece for the season but “the main concern is fitting it to who we have in the department at the time. This semester we needed more roles for women than guys which explains the heavy cast of females.”
What is a life lesson in the story?
“The girls get to walk through time, and as they’re discovering the future, they’re learning what makes the wonders of the world and learning about humanity. [They] observe how humans have failed and learned a lot about themselves and like how all three of them have very different backgrounds and beliefs.” The girls must realize how to come together despite different views. “Alexandra thinks it’s cool to wear pants, and Fanny is a lot more proper in her demeanor while Mary is interested in studying human [behavior] which causes tiny tensions every so often.”
What does the Regent’s theater do well and what could be improved?
“I think the sets are really awesome. I work on the sets, and I get to see how much goes into them. I think the main thing that Regent does really well is that everyone does a good job of pulling together last minute. There’s a lot of good content that comes out of Regent theater and a lot of quality stuff.” For this production, Hannah explained that the main stage was transformed into an irate platform which is a slanted gradation platform. “I learned how to put in a fire pole from the orchestra pit and got the fittings to tie it into the stage and use other pipes in length.” However, Hannah noted that funding remains an ongoing struggle for the club along with convincing people to become involved so that bigger productions can be performed. When asked why this problem occurs Hannah shared, “There are certain stigmas that have been put on guys that are not true [so many] would rather work backstage.”
What is your encouragement to others who may be considering doing theater?
“Theater has so many different aspects of it you don’t have to necessarily be acting, and I think that’s what a lot of people outside don’t realize. The theater is such a creative process and so collaborative. I love how it combines art, practical things, and literature, and there’s always stuff that you can try. If you end up trying one thing you don’t like then that’s not the end of the world. Every show is different, and you never know what you’re going to experience. The theater has a different permanence. It’s different watching something on the screen versus being surrounded in person and seeing everything.”