Theater Preview: Cheese

Comfort food comes in all shapes and sizes. Laurel Ollstein’s play “Cheese” premieres at Pierce on Friday, March 27 in the newly restored Performance Arts Building.

The dark comedy tells the tale of a deadbeat actor, a grieving mother, and a man that is obsessed with making carvings out of the rotted, smelly, milk by-product.

The first play to be performed in the Performance Arts Building after its renovations, “Cheese” is a rarity in the fact that it is a play that is actually written and directed by a Pierce staff member.

Writer, director, and Play Production Instructor Laurel Ollstein has a reputable status in the acting and play-writing community, and said in an e-mail where her inspiration from the production came.

“Cheese is a play that I wrote awhile back when I was a member of The Actors’ Gang (Tim Robbins theatre company). There was a production of it at the Gang as well as a few others around the country. It’s a dark comedy about finding yourself – about loss – about family, and yes, about cheese. “

Ollstein, along with a few other theater instructors, is responsible for hosting the auditions, assembling the all-student cast, and helping the cast rehearse.

Theater manager and producer of the play Michael Sande expressed his content for the new facilities, but seemed more focused on the idea of being part of a creation from his own department.

“It’s a dark comedy, it has something to say about certain issues, but at the end of the day it’s about entertaining you and making you laugh,” Sande said. “That’s what Laurel is really good at as a play-write.”

Sande also stated his feelings of optimism regarding the fact that “Cheese” is a never-before seen production.

“It’s hard because people have never heard of this play,” Sande said. “If you take a chance and come and see it, I guarantee you’re going to love it.”

While the Performing Arts Building did receive several new additions, the only new factors from a technologic standpoint are the lighting and sound.

Technician John Jones, who works in the theater department, went into slight detail of the status of the technology.

“We’ve always had a full shop,” Jones said about the previous resources available. “The old sound system was built in 1981.”

Performances begin March 27 and end April 5. Prices are $15 for general admission and $12 admission for seniors and students. For more info, call 818-719-6488.