A powerful student-led production will debut on November 4 and will highlight LGBTQ rights, abortion and the value of human life.
Jeremy Torres Lab Theater will present ‘The Twilight of the Golds’ which tells the story of a married couple considering an abortion after genetic testing revealed the baby would be born gay. The play is directed by Andrew Michael Carter, a junior in performance production, and Sophia Jovanovic, a sophomore in theater education.
“The message I get from this show is that true acceptance can never happen without understanding,” Carter said. “Especially in this part of Texas, again, it’s such a black or white problem. There are so many dangers.
Jovanovic joined as co-director after Carter felt that a female perspective needed to be included for the production to be successful. She said the story was interesting and empowering and hopes students will come away feeling empowered to change their lives and the world.
“The ending of this play is a very, very harsh reality that a lot of young gay people experience,” Jovanovic said. She also admits “I’ve never really had to ask myself these difficult questions about these difficult circumstances with abortion.”
Written by Jonathan Tolins, the story is set in the 1980s, at the height of the AIDS epidemic in New York. Carter grew up in a conservative part of Texas and had little hope of the play being produced by her old high school theater.
He pitched the story anyway, but the school rejected the idea due to the story’s sensitive topics. JTLT, an organization that accepts play submissions from all students and selects a few to produce each semester, endorsed Carter’s pitch to direct the play.
“I’m living my high school dream,” Carter said.
JTLT empowers undergraduates to choose and direct their plays, teaches how the theater industry works, and provides skills that can be used in a professional career. Created three years ago for undergraduates by undergraduates, JTLT’s mission is to provide a space where students can create freely.
“We provide a platform for undergraduate writers, directors and actors,” said Insha Iqbal, performance production manager and co-director of JTLT. “The biggest thing for me that I love about this organization is that it’s now created this place for undergraduate artists to do what they love and create really cool work and collaborate.”
Excitement within JTLT is at an all-time high this year now that the shows will be before a live audience for the first time. The organization was created just before the pandemic and all performances had to be broadcast via a video streaming service.
Since joining the organization, Iqbal has landed a job with an Austin theater company, been promoted to co-director of JTLT, and completely overhauled the organization to create a streamlined process for future productions. Although this is her last year at Texas State, Iqbal is pleased with the organization’s progress and accomplishments so far.
JTLT is currently producing other projects including a playwrights festival, fundraiser, and other student-directed plays. All students interested in theater production, regardless of major, are encouraged to pitch a story or apply for a backstage job.
Performance times for “The Twilight of the Golds” are 7:30 p.m. Nov. 4-5 and 2 p.m. Nov. 6 at the Texas State Theater Center in room 209. Show tickets are free or “pay what you can” . .
For more information on this production and other projects, visit Jeremy Torres Lab Theater on Instagram @jeremytorreslabtheatre.