• September 21, 2014

Social message for audience in ‘Billboard’

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Posted: Friday, March 8, 2013 4:30 am | Updated: 3:15 pm, Fri Jul 19, 2013.

Valerie Valdez wants audiences to examine the commercialism of humanity.

“Nowadays, because of necessity, we’re looking for ways to pay our bills, even to the extent that we’ll sell ourselves off in pieces,” said Valdez, a member of Central Texas College’s drama faculty.

When Valdez heard about Michael Vukadinovich’s drama/comedy “Billboard,” she was excited about sharing the social message of the production with her students.

The three-person play, which is intended for mature audiences, opened Thursday and continues at 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday at CTC’s Lady Bird Johnson Fine Arts Auditorium.

Sophomore Jordan Brinkman plays Andy, a debt-ridden college graduate who decides to ease the burden of his loans by getting a corporate logo tattooed on his forehead for a large sum of money. He doesn’t think about how it will affect his girlfriend, Katelyn, played by sophomore Madie Thompson.

The cast also includes sophomore Francisco Almeraz, who plays Andy’s best friend, Damon. The three cast members spent about six weeks rehearsing and feed off one another when they’re on stage.

“In the last week or so is when we start to find little nuances within our character and grab on to those and play with those,” Brinkman said. “I wish we had more time to explore those because then we can more fully develop our characterization and flesh out those characters and make them people.”

Every scene explores a relatable life lesson, Thompson said. “It’s all about the real-life obstacles that you go through with your personal relationships and with each other.”

Even when the intentions of an act are honorable, people must question the consequences, said Valdez, who directed the play and hopes it challenges audience members’ minds. “We can’t answer that question until we start to experience those consequences. That’s why I thought this play has a deeper message.”

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