Little Theater presents virtual showing of “Drive In” and “Horse Girls”

Canisius’s Little Theater is putting on two one-act plays this weekend: “Drive In” and “Horse Girls.” The performances, which star many students from campus, will be streamed at 8 p.m. Friday, March 10 and Saturday, March 20 via Facebook

Little Theater members prepare for opening night of “Drive In” and “Horse Girls”

What could the setting of a 1950s drive-in theater possibly have in common with a weekly meeting of the Lady Jean Ladies’ horse-related shenanigans? Well, Little Theatre’s latest creation — a double-feature of “Drive In” followed by “Horse Girls” — will answer the question.

“Drive In” by Richard Hellensen depicts various scenarios involving three separate cars with intersecting issues at an outdoor theater in 1955. “Horse Girls” by Jenny Rachel Weiner provides a more modern glimpse into a rather deadly and certainly campy meeting of a group of devoted preteen girls who love their horses almost as much as they love the club’s vicious leader, Ashleigh.

Directed by esteemed members of the club, President Claire Bingaman and Secretary Lydia Sulaiman, the one-act plays will be performed in succession, featuring casts that overlap with one another. Thus, many of the actors are playing two separate characters throughout the course of the performance, including freshman Korey Martineau.

“‘Drive In’ is a cute little microcosm of what I would imagine dating was like at that time,” Martineau explained. “It showcases almost every aspect of a relationship — the start of one, the end of one and then the rekindling of one — and has little snapshots into the life of these people going through it.”

The show manages to flip many archetypal tropes on their head through the directors’ decision to cast through a genderblind lens. This was also the case for Martineau’s character in “Horse Girls,” which deals with another specific stereotype.

Martineau explained, “I don’t know what the playwright’s experiences were, but if you’ve ever met a horse girl, it seems that was the initial inspiration: she met one weird, crazy person who cares way too much about this specific thing. The show deals with a whole gaggle of them, and what they do behind the scenes. Maybe it’s supposed to be a satirical, like, ‘What happens when this weird person you had an odd interaction with goes home for the day?’”

“Drive In”/”Horse Girls” is Martineau’s fourth involvement with Little Theatre, and it’s the first time he’s ever had to play two characters simultaneously. In “Drive In,” he plays Boy. In “Horse Girls,” he plays a girl, Robin.

“Boy in ‘Drive In’ is just a timid little high schooler — a sophomore maybe — on his first date to the drive-in,” Martineau said. “And in ‘Horse Girls,’ I’m Robin, who I think is more of a follower than anything. I feel like I’m kind of typecast as Boy — that’s just who I appear to be — in being visibly uncertain about what’s happening. I feel like a lot of the time I trip over myself in one way or another and I think that’s Boy’s whole schtick. I’m not Boy, but also I feel like he’s a pretty understandable character to play.”

With new experiences comes new challenges, but Martineaeu didn’t feel that having to channel two personas at once was inachieveable.

“I don’t think playing the characters is difficult, it’s more just a lot of taxing mental work to remember multiple motivations and all that. And just the idea that once ‘Drive In’ is finished, I still have another show after that. But overall, I don’t have an issue with getting in and out of character.”

In bringing two separate worlds to life, the cast and crew had plenty of opportunities to bond with one another all the while working hard to fulfill their directors’ visions.

“I love getting to hang out with my buddies and act, and trying to get reactions out of our directors,” Martineau said. “I like getting notes at the end of our rehearsals and seeing what I did right and wrong; seeing the little things I did that were noticed and which ones were too small to see.”

“Drive In” and “Horse Girls” will be streaming on Facebook tonight and also Saturday night at 8 p.m., and a filmed version of the performance will be released the following weekend. You can reserve tickets for free at cclittletheatre.ludus.com/index.php.

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