AC Conservatory students 'stay gold' in 'Outsiders' stage play
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By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
The Greasers and the Socs will rumble once more in a new production of The Outsiders from Amarillo College Conservatory Theatre.
The play, an adaptation of S.E. Hinton's 1967 novel (and the 1983 film it inspired), will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday in Ordway Auditorium on the AC Washington Street campus. General admission tickets are $12. Call 806-584-8985.
"Every character is true to the book," director Jayme McBride said.
Set in Tulsa, Okla., the play is a coming-of-age story about the Curtis boys — eldest Darry (Sean Reneau), Sodapop (Nathanael Salazar) and youngest Ponyboy (Iann Coleman) — and their fellow greasers, including Johnny Cade (Junhi Doan). Their richer rivals, the Socs, jump Ponyboy, leading to rising tensions that are only exacerbated when Ponyboy develops a fondness for Cherry Valance (Regan Mashburn).
Eventually, a fight turns deadly, and Ponyboy and Johnny flee town. After they save the lives of some children caught in a blazing church, they return to join a rumble with the Socs.
"It is timeless," McBride said. "This is the 50th anniversary of the book, and this is still happening in high schools and the adult world the world over. It's just so universal, and somehow we can't seem to solve this problem."
What's the problem? Bitter, entrenched rivalries, she said, citing local examples like Tascosa High School vs. Amarillo High School.
"What is the solution to this problem? We haven't solved it in 50 years, and trust me, it was relevant way before (Hinton) ever put pen to paper," McBride said.
Such socially conscious plays are the AC Conservatory's bread and butter.
"Entertainment is vital, but it doesn't lend itself to the trainging we do," McBride said. "We train them to be open-minded, relevant people, and artists second."
That's something students like Reneau appreciate.
"I honestly think it makes me a better actor by not doing fluffy shows," Reneau said. "It trains us to do more complex characterizations, and hopefully, we're impacting some people by letting them see the messages we do on stage."