Friday night saw the opening of “Pooter McGraw is Not Dead Party," the latest University Theatre show, which was written by Padraic Lillis and directed by Peter Zazzali.

The dramedy sees the reunion of six friends from college after hearing one of their friends, who they haven’t seen since graduation, suddenly passed away. What follows is a dialogue-driven story of regret, the fear of growing up and hope for the future. 

“I think just about any college student can relate to this story,” Zazzali said. “It’s about young people trying to figure out their place in the world and realizing that time is slipping by.”

One of the main themes Zazzali suggested is the thought that waiting for the future can be dangerous, given the unexpected turns reality can take.

“Every student faces the fear of uncertainty growing up,” Zazzali said. “You don’t really know what’s going to happen and that’s not something that you can prepare for.”

Ethan Malin, a sophomore from Wamego, echoed that sentiment, and said one of his main takeaways was a look into what it could be like for him and his friends after he graduates.

“Nobody really tells you or prepares you for what’s going to happen after college,” Malin said. “Seeing the difficulties of that transition is something that I’ve never really thought about and I guess a play is a good way to teach that.” 

The powerful and unapologetic depiction of reality for millennials hitting the workforce and dealing with the pressures of society had some audience members in tears. Victoria Kilkenny, a junior from Shawnee who played Ash, delivered a particularly gut-wrenching performance that, for a moment, left the audience deathly silent. 

“It was a very passionate performance, and I enjoyed when things got a little heated in the second act,” Malin said.

"Pooter McGraw is Not Dead Party" will be playing at the Crafton-Preyer Theater in Murphy Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 17 and 19, and again at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 20.

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