Students go Barefoot at community theater

Putting on a play at the Masque Community Theatre is a learning experience for college students. In the production of Barefoot in the Park, several students are taking on new responsibilities and learning about theater in the process.

Producer Kayleigh Mollycheck, a USF theatre graduate, and director Caitlynd Sweazy, a St. Petersburg College student, collaborated on the play.

The script, by Neil Simon, centers around two newlyweds dealing with the struggles of conflicting personalities. Despite their differences, love wins in the typical romantic-comedy style.

Mollycheck, who also plays the main female character, Corie Bratter, said the play would be “universal and enjoyed by all ages,” though it was written in the ’60s.

While both are first-timers in their roles, Mollycheck and Sweazy said they have worked in theater for years and have experience at the Masque Theatre.

“It’s a place of opportunity,” Mollycheck said.

“I’ve done other community theaters,” Sweazy said. “Nobody takes you seriously, but here they take your ideas seriously. They embrace that I’m young but still have these aspirations.”

While they may not have an excess of experience, both producer and director have been nurtured and mentored in this community theater, and said the environment is paying off.

Lead actor Dayton Sinkia, a junior performance major at USF, plays the young, order-oriented attorney Paul Bratter. Sinkia said he had to step out of his own realm of
knowledge to play the part.

“I am not conservative, yet I had to relate to where my character, Paul, was coming from with his conservative views,” he said.

Molly Bailey, a USF theatre major, said she was involved in set construction, set design and props for the play.

With the help of the stage crew, she put together a set detailed with hanging windows and backstage steps to allow the audience to see people walking outside the window. It includes furniture and props that Bailey said contribute to the feel aimed for by the playwright.

Barefoot in the Park runs through June 21 at the Masque Community Theatre in Temple Terrace. Showtimes are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $14, or $12 with student ID.