When Samantha Rund performs her original show, Saving Face, April 17 and 18, shell be fulfilling her longtime interest in Shakespeares character Ophelia. But shell also be honoring the memory of a close friend who killed himself when the two were in high school.
Rund, who is the host of UW 360, the UWTV production, is also a 2006 graduate of the School of Dramas Professional Actor Training Program.
“Ophelia has always been an interesting character to me, and I think shes rather overlooked,” Rund said. “So I wanted to write about her, but then when I kept hearing on the news about teen suicides, I decided to use her story to do something that might be helpful.”
Saving Face is a one-woman show that features six characters. Two of those characters — Ophelia and Jayla — are like two sides of the same coin, Rund said. “Ophelia is conditioned for something that falls apart and she drowns. Jayla is being conditioned to survive.”
Rund will perform at the Ethnic Cultural Center Theater, pretty much without scenery, costumes or the other accoutrements of a full production, which suits her just fine. She says she likes minimalist theater, and that it will serve this show well to have most of the action in the audiences imagination. Besides, when youre fronting all the costs of a show, as she is, fancy scenery isnt your first concern. And since she has thoughts of perhaps traveling to high schools with the show, its an advantage to keep it simple.
“I have a special connection to doing theater for high schoolers,” said Rund, who has performed with Intiman Theatres Living History and Book-Its Book-It All over. “I feel pretty passionate about helping high schoolers to express themselves and learn through the arts.”
This isnt the first time Rund has written and performed a one-woman show, but the two shows she did previously were part of her graduate program. This time shes working solo, though Drama Lecturer Cathy Madden provided input and feedback.
“Its definitely been a learning curve as to what it means to produce your solo show and figure out all aspects of it,” Rund said.
Besides her gig at UW 360, Rund has a day job at Teatro Zinzanni, where she waits tables, does dance numbers and sings when asked. Her employers have donated two tickets to brunch that will be given away to an audience member through a raffle. Tickets for that are $5.
Rund plans to donate 25 percent of any profits on the show to the Youth Suicide Prevention Program, a local organization. She said it wasnt until after shed written the show that she remembered her high school friend killed himself while they were learning Hamlet in English class.
“Once I realized that, then the show became partially for him,” she said.
Saving Face will be performed at 2 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 17 and 18, at the Ethnic Cultural Theatre. Tickets are $10, cash only at the door. The show runs for an hour.