Twin City's 'On the Exhale' a stark, topical one-woman show

Twin City's 'On the Exhale' a stark, topical one-woman show

CHAMPAIGN — Twin City Theatre Company's Kimberly Schofield is the entire cast in "On the Exhale," which opens Friday.

Martin Zimmerman's drama is directed by Dustin Yocum.

The play is connected to an explosive school shooting, and how it affects a liberal college professor in an unusual way.

What's it like for Schofield to be "the cast"?

"It is an exhilarating challenge to carry a play by myself," she said.

"This completely exposes my vulnerability as a performer, since there is nobody and nothing else on stage to support me. I love it and really leaned on my director to encourage me during periods of frustration."

Yocum said the play has been "on my radar for quite some time."

"The play is incredibly topical right now. Martin Zimmerman, the playwright, wrote it in response to the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting," he said.

"I was in eighth grade when Columbine happened," Yocum said. "I presume kids, and even parents, today have a significantly different level of awareness about this topic than I did."

Schofield felt the same resonance.

"It's unfortunate that it's no longer a surprise when there's a news report of a shooting because of how common it has become," she said.

"I have seen a shift in the safety protocols of schools, as well as how cautious people are with that constant threat in the back of the mind. It amazes me that there are still individuals who are still of the mind-set, 'That's never going to happen to me.'"

The starkness of the set mirrors the starkness of the shooting.

"When I took on this play, one of the things I loved about it was how bare bones it was," Yocum said.

"I decided to strip it of any and all extraneous elements. This story is at its most powerful and engaging when the main character speaks alone on a bare stage."

If you go

What: "On the Exhale"

Where: SoDo Theatre, 114 S. Neil St., C

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, May 3-4; 2 p.m. Sunday and May 5

Tickets: $12-$15

Box office: 217-353-5282

Topics (1):Theater