SAU Buzz

Students perform a shocking studio show

by Claire Swift
Posted on Apr 14, 2016

As patrons walked into the studio theater at the Galvin Fine Arts center, there were walls covered with graffiti. On those walls there were derogatory phrases and cuss words. All of the graffiti was sprayed in bright red and black paint. The furniture used on the set was very worn and there were stains all over the pieces.

Throughout the first weekend in April, the play “Orphans,” written by Lyle Kessler, was performed in the studio theatre by Ambrose students. Some students may not be aware, but almost all productions at Galvin are free for students to go to with a valid St. Ambrose ID. The studio shows are limited seating, so all patrons have to buy tickets. To see “Orphans,” students had to pay $6 to enter the show.

Senior Dave DeGarmo says he was shocked walking in and almost felt uncomfortable.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect, I had never been to a studio theater show before,” DeGarmo said. “From the decorations, I figured the play would be a lot more violent than what it actually was. I loved all the emotion given by all of the actors because they made the play feel real.”

In Orphans, there are three main male roles. There are two brothers. Phillip is played by Brian Leibfourth, and Treat is played by Jordan McGinnis. An additional character named Harold is played by Jonathan Johnson.

Jonathan Johnson says the biggest difference between performing in the studio theater and Allaert Auditorium is the intimacy level.

“You always are aware of the audience and sometimes this means you can’t be as big during a studio theater show otherwise one’s acting can come off as overdone,” Johnson said. “The studio theater allows for subtle gestures and acting choices to be seen, which is not usually the case for a typical proscenium arch stage.”

Senior Michael Salvo says he loved how much energy was given throughout the show.

“The SAU theater does it again,” Salvo said. “The production of Orphans was an electric performance that delivered the often theme that there is always hope.”

Early on in the play, the audience is shown Treat’s extreme mood swings with his brother Phillip. At some points, it was unclear if Treat was going to beat Phillip or hug him. However, Treat did always bring home Phillip’s beloved Hellmann’s mayonnaise.

Money is scarce until, Treat kidnaps a fellow named Harold and ties him up in his house to try and extort money from him. Harold doesn’t bat an eye at Treat’s tactics and offers him a job to help teach him different lessons in life. Then tragedy strikes and Treat and Phillip are once again Orphans but with some of the lesson’s Harold taught them they know there will always be hope.


Johnson says his favorite part about being in Orphan’s was the challenge.


“As an actor I think one of the hardest things to do is to die on stage,” Johnson said. “I don’t know if I honestly got it down because I had a hard time making my breathing subtle.”


However Johnson says he wouldn’t change the experience.

“It was great to work with a small cast and have such a great director and crew,” Johnson said.

The next performance at the Galvin Fine Arts Center will be the play “Noises Off ,” performed on April 15-17. This show is $13 adults, $11 faculty,staff,alumni,senior citizens, $9 non-SAU students, $8 groups, and SAU students can get in the show for free with a valid student ID. Tickets can be bought at the Galvin Ticket Office or online at