When We Were Young and Unafraid Was a Show to Remember

BSU theater put on a production of When We Were Young and Unafraid recently, directed by BSU student Deeyana Duffie (she/her). The play is based on the book written by Sarah Treem (she/her) and was performed on the 22, 24, and 25 of February. The one hour and forty-five-minute show touched on very profound and heavy topics, showing the audience the perspective of a small circle of characters.  

The play is set in the early 70’s before Roe v. Wade and the Violence Against Women Act. The main characters, Penny and Agnes, live at and take care of a bed and breakfast on an island. They take in victims of domestic violence, creating a safe space of refuge for another character, Mary Anne.

The dynamics between characters, such as Penny as a young teenage girl and Mary Anne as a young adult, flowed well with the story and the innocence of their perspectives. Penny also balances her school life and home life, as well as the tough choices she has to face and whose advice she should listen to, which was shown very expressively through each conversation. Agnes’ struggle between balancing being both an innkeeper and caretaker is shown progressively throughout the play, touching the hearts of the audience and sympathizing with her character.  

Being that the time period was the early 70’s, much thought had to be put into things from costumes and sets to ways of talking and acting, as well as the ideas of the time. The students worked creatively to incorporate as much as possible into the themes, from small things like Pennys outfit changes to phrases and revolutionary values and movements.  

The play, dealing with very diverse views, issues and controversies, required a lot of emotions from each and every character. From making us laugh to making us cry, each actor and actress had an incredible range of passion. There were many moments of shared gasps and chuckles throughout the rows. Whether it was yelling during a heated argument or singing a song on the guitar, I was captivated the whole way through. The book and play were written in a very performative way, but nonetheless clearly told a story to remember.  

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