By Kerri-lyn Hernandez, Editor

Keely being angry and Du being sad on a bed

A scene from Keely and Du
(Courtesy of Stanley Spilecki)

As the seats quickly filled on March 14th in Emery auditorium at The University of Maine at Farmington (UMF), audience members showed enthusiasm about the play they were about to watch, Keely and Du by Jane Martin and directed by Jayne Decker. The atmosphere was tense as before the play itself began, members strolled through in black sweatshirts, looking around the audience, one checking a watch and another smoking a smokeless cigarette.
The main idea of the play is that two characters kidnap a woman who has become pregnant after being raped by her husband. They keep her so that she will not abort the baby because they are “Christians” who are strongly against abortion. However, by the end, Du becomes imprisoned and Keely, the pregnant woman has aborted her own baby via a clothes hanger.
The play has brought up conversation topics that could be very debatable, “The play definitely is shocking and controversial in some parts,” said Christina Hallowell, a freshman at UMF who worked with costumes in the play. “What I really liked about it is it wasn’t sympathetic to either side of the abortion issue. Both Du and Keely were women of deep convictions but it wasn’t like either of their beliefs were overbearing.”
A main character from the play agrees with Hallowell, “Jane Martin takes the issue of abortion and cracks it wide open for a live audience to see and decide for themselves,” said Richard Russell, a junior at UMF who played Walter, the kidnapper of Keely.
Keely and Du, while dramatic, also made the audience and cast members really think over the issues it brought up, “Going in to the play, I knew it was going to evoke many emotions and be a very raw performance,” said Innes Herdan, a junior at UMF and audience member. “I was surprised by the play’s use of silence; it not only opted not to use music during the scene transitions but many of the scenes were more focused on paying attention to the facial expressions of the characters.”
Herdan, among other audience members talking after the show, believed the actors to be very believable and gut-wrenching, “The actress who played Keely performed impeccably, even her eyes welled up during the more emotional scenes,” said Herdan.
The actors do have to work hard to make the show believable and aw-worthy, “if you don’t believe it, the audience won’t believe you,” said Russell.
A lot of thought goes into putting on a play at UMF, “When I consider plays to direct, I look for scripts with a strong social context and ones that will challenge the actors in performance,” said Jayne Decker, director of Keely and Du.
Russell believes the most “gratifying part of the whole experience of being a part of the play was opening night, walking out on stage and letting the air hang. You have a room filled with people and because of the power of the play, it is absolutely dead silent,” said Russell. “Nobody is whispering to anybody else, nobody is texting. All eyes are on the stage. On you. The moment is suspended.”
Many people can agree with the success of the play, as the cast took their bows at the end of the show, the audience clapped while giving a standing ovation as the cast cracked smiles, showing the accomplishment of all of their hard work paying off.