Armstrong Students Direct and Star in “I And You”

The student-directed, two-actor dramedy featured stirring performances


Left: Ava Mueller Right: Dujuan Glenn

Armstrong’s theatre department performed Lauren Gunderson’s play “I And You” on the weekend of Oct. 28 through Oct. 30, putting on three performances in total. The play, directed by Armstrong student Sarah Lee, was the first of two plays to be performed this semester, with “School Girls; or, the African Mean Girls Play” to be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 16-19 and 3 p.m. on Nov. 20 in the Black Box Theatre.

“I And You” features a cast of two actors, both of whom are onstage for nearly the entire show and are relied upon to perform a heavy amount of dialogue, blocking and stage-decoration. Armstrong students Ava Mueller and Dujuan Glenn performed these duties admirably.

The play is about two high school students working together on a school project. The two don’t know each other particularly well, and one of them has been absent from school due to a long-term illness.

Gunderson’s script covers a wide range of topics and themes. Much of the dialogue revolves around trust, the definition of friendship, social media’s impact on young people, individuality, sexuality and a lot about the meaning of life and death. It’s an ambitious play matched by fearless performances by the two leads.

The Friday night show I attended was filled with emotion. It was very funny when it wanted to be and also very sad. It greatly benefitted from Jenkins Hall’s Black Box theater, as the intimate setting allowed for the audience to be in the room with Caroline and Anthony, the two characters.

The black box environment also allowed the audience to be closer to the actors themselves, both of whom were wearing masks that were translucent in the mouth area, allowing their facial expressions to be seen. The actors were also able to project their voices very well despite the masks, and almost every line could be heard clearly.

The interaction between the two leads is the hook of this play; their relationship changes significantly as the two characters become more familiar with each other. Mueller and Glenn sell this aspect of the play extremely well, and their hard work and dedication to the material should be commended.

Lee’s directing is just as impressive. Keeping an audience engaged with one setting and two actors is no easy task, but the pace kept the plot moving forward, the blocking gave each character plenty to do and the impactful moments, complete with lighting changes and musical cues, worked very well.

Friday’s performance was well-attended. I counted only a handful of empty seats, and I would estimate that the theater was at least 80% full with an engaged and attentive audience.

The performance I watched was the result of a large amount of work by a small group of people with the goal of pulling off an ambitious project. It worked to great effect. The play was emotionally powerful and an example of what makes in-person theater such a special genre of performance. Armstrong students should be proud of what their peers were able to accomplish with this run of performances, and should make every effort to attend future productions.