University Theatre’s Season Opens with “This Is Our Youth”

Kenneth Lonergan’s classic work This Is Our Youth was the opening production of the Saint Louis University Theatre & Dance Season and ran from Oct. 1-10. Director Tom Martin said he is optimistic the show was a hit. 

“It’s got three incredibly wonderful roles and a compelling story that I believe speaks to our audience,” Martin said. “The most enjoyable part is definitely working with the actors. They are a wonderful, committed group of actors, and they’re all absolutely lion-hearted.”

The 2015 Tony Award-nominated dark comedy is a snapshot into the tumultuous lives of three young adults on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. After stealing $15,000 from his abusive father, teenager Warren Straub partners with drug dealer Dennis Ziegler to eke out a living in the Big Apple. 

However, the true apple of Warren’s eye is Jessica Goldman, a bold young woman with a passionate outlook on life. The trio is thrown into the harshness of the world with nothing but their experiences and beliefs, hunting for purpose in the wilderness of America’s biggest city.

 Attending her first University Theatre production, freshman Katelyn Weber said she was impressed with the acting and subject matter of This Is Our Youth. 

“I think [the play] represents people around our age and portrays situations that could happen to anyone,” Weber said. “It’s a more personal type of play, which I enjoyed.” 

 Senior Andre Eslamian played the role of Warren Straub. As a 19-year-old college dropout, the character attempts to find direction in life and grapples with questions of loyalty, betrayal, love and grief. 

“Playing Warren was one of the most emotionally exhausting experiences in my entire life, but I would absolutely do it again in a heartbeat,” Eslamian said. “There’s an extreme catharsis in playing him.”

Eslamian said he was well aware of the relevance and timeliness of performing This Is Our Youth at SLU. “For starters, it’s a play about young adults the same age as us college kids,” Eslamian said. “And it’s about becoming adults, overcoming this weird transitory period in our life where we start acting like adults when we have no idea what it’s actually like. As the play progresses, it tells us that being an adult is more than just performing these fantasies taught to us. It’s about being present, living in that moment and using those life experiences to better yourself.” The next SLU theatre production is A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Lucy Cashion. The play will run from Nov. 18 to Nov. 21 on the Xavier Hall Main Stage, located at 3733 West Pine Mall. Tickets can be purchased at the University campus box office located in Xavier Hall or online at Parking can be found in the Queen’s Daughter’s Hall lot located behind Xavier Hall. Tickets for the play are general seating and non-refundable.