Title and Deed: A One-Man Show About Not Belonging Anywhere

Posted on May 13th, 2019 by

Samuel Burnham '19 performs in Gustavus Adolphus College's production of Title and Deed.

Gustavus Adolphus College’s latest theatrical production, Title and Deed by Will Eno, opens May 17 in Anderson Theatre. A one-man show directed by Henry MacCarthy, Title and Deed tells the story of an unnamed man played by Sam Burnham ’19. Using humor and word play, it delves into issues such as cultural misunderstanding and immigration, as well as the idea of being “unhomed,” or the feeling of not belonging anywhere.

While the play discusses heavy topics, it is all done with a sense of humor. MacCarthy says there are many instances where he finds himself laughing, even if the subject matter isn’t something normally thought to be funny. “There’s a moment where you go, wait, why am I laughing at this? What’s wrong with me?” he says.

As the unnamed character is described in the text as “not from around here,” the play touches on the challenges of being an immigrant and his struggle to find a place he feels he belongs. As someone who is also not originally from the United States, MacCarthy says the feelings resonate with him. “It’s scary how many things I find wrestling with my own experience,” he says. 

As a one-man show, this performance presents a unique set of challenges. Burnham is performing this show as his senior honors project. “It was definitely something to get used to, that’s for sure,” he says. While Burnham is the only actor, there are many students working behind the scenes, assisting in many different ways including stage manager Nicole Meyer ’20, assistant costume designer Megan Morris ’21, dramaturg Jordan Johnson ’21, and assistant director Gabe Berg ’19.

Burnham hopes audiences can relate to the journey of discovery the character goes on. “We’re all in college here. This is a big four years of our lives discovering what we want to do, discovering who we are as a person,” he says. As his character speaks directly to the audience the entire time, Burnham feels this provides a different experience for viewers. “He’s telling his story, and I feel like that provides good opportunities for honesty, which could really impact people, and really touch them in ways other performances don’t,” he says.

Performances are May 17-18 at 8 p.m. and May 19 at 2 p.m. in Anderson Theatre. Due to set restrictions, limited seating is available. Tickets are available at gustavustickets.com or (507) 933-7590.

 

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