UNO Theater Department performs “The Guard”

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Jeff Turner
SENIOR STAFF WRITER

“The Guard” is pitched as “a comic drama about the permanence of art and the impermanence of life paints shimmering portraits of Rembrandt, Homer and those who protect the art we cherish.” The Jessica Dickey play only came out last year, and it’s a work with a lot of moving parts.

“It’s a narrative about how people are connected to art and how art connects people throughout history,” describes cast member Michael Juarez, who plays Homer and Simon.

Preview nights will be Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Tag Nite Out will be Wednesday. Performances will be February 24-25 and March 1-4, 2017 in the UNO Theatre.

In an interview for Ford’s Theatre, Dickey talks about how she became fascinated with museum guards and wanted to learn more about their lives.

“A work of art, much like a person, there’s only one. So if something happens to it, that’s it,” Dickey said.

Dickey is interested in art and why it’s needed: “Why do we seek it? Why do we make it? Why do we keep it?”

“The Guard” is her love letter to the medium. She was commissioned to write the play by Ford’s Theatre, where President Lincoln was assassinated. She says in that same interview that the legacy of the theatre allowed her to think bigger and made her feel like she could write whatever she wanted.

The cast all portray two different parts, budget constraints play a factor but this is by design.

“Most of our characters are complete opposites of each other,” said Kayla Moore who plays Madeline and Henny.

The vibe amongst the cast is relaxed. They will crack jokes and banter with each other. These are people who love art, love acting and know what they’re doing, but they, for the most part, enjoy each other’s company and have a great deal of chemistry with one another. The director of “The Guard” is Dr. Cynthia Melby Phaneuf.

“She’s really capable. She’s been able to work with wonders with everyone in various levels of the department. She’s very hands on and gets you into an emotional state, she is a very compassionate person,” said Juarez, who has been in all of her productions since enrolling at UNO.

The actors were open about some of the other work they’ve done, and while most had mainly worked with the UNO theatre, Juarez had lived in L.A. at one point.

“I did this one really fun scary movie where I was kidnapped,” he said. “I tried to escape, but he choked me and fed me to his dog. Not a very large role, but it was memorable.

Tickets to “The Guard” are free for all UNO students. For general audiences, preview nights are $6 and all others are $16. For tickets, visit www.unomaha.edu/unotheatre or call the box office at 402.554.PLAY.

The UNO Theatre Box Office accepts all major credit cards. More information about Jessica Dickey is available at www.jessicadickey.com.

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