Published: September 25, 2015
Campus Comment Editor
September 18 marked opening night for the University Players’ production of Peter Parnell’s “The Rise and Rise of Daniel Rocket.”
The play begins following the average day of Daniel Rocket, an ambitious, intelligent and misunderstood 12 year old whose only desire is to fly.
From young love interests, to hating homework and to handling bullies, the first few scenes accurately depict a multitude of the common struggles faced by pre-teens in their middle school years. While these struggles are difficult for any student, they are even harder for Daniel, because his peculiar interest in flying ostracizes him from the rest of the boys. But although his peers mock him and his behavior concerns his teacher, nothing prevents Daniel from spreading his wings.
In Act II, set 20 years later, Daniel returns to his hometown only to find that nothing has changed. Despite his incredible fame and fortune, he still identifies as the same weird 12 year old that never fit in with his community. But to avoid any spoilers, let us leave it at that.
The Players never ceased to amaze their audience with their superb talents in acting, set creation and costume design. “The Rise and Rise of Daniel Rocket” immediately draws in the audience members, bringing them into the schoolyard as if they are actually there.
This impressively realistic atmosphere allows the audience to truly empathize with the pain, joys and disappointment Daniel experiences throughout the course of his life. The play’s musical score also successfully aids in setting a mood for each scene.
Michele Schulmeister, a junior who recently read this play for a theater class, confidently stated that the production matched her expectations.
“It’s really cool to see people your age being able to perform like that; I know I could never,” Schulmeister said.
She also applauded the cast’s ability to engage an audience, saying that it “seemed so real.”
Jordan Gruttadauria, a senior studying communication with a theater minor definitely enjoyed watching her peers perform. Because of her theater minor, Gruttadauria was able to appreciate aspects of the play that might go unnoticed by other spectators.
“I really enjoyed the show. I thought the acting was incredible; and sets and costumes were great. I loved the whole story of the show, how they start as kids and you’re able to see how they grow up and change,” Gruttadauria said.
From many who have been lucky enough to see the show already, “The Rise and Rise of Daniel Rocket” has been given a thumbs up. The Players rehearse several times a week for a number of hours and the hard work definitely pays off.
If you weren’t able to catch “The Rise and Rise of Daniel Rocket” last weekend, you still have a chance.
The play will continue Friday, Sept. 25 and Saturday, Sept. 26, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 27 at 2 p.m. in the Royal Theatre.