Stellar Performance of Larry Shue’s THE NERD


Audiences were treated to an evening of laughter as Palmer’s Masque and Sandal Thespian Troupe presented “The Nerd” by Larry Shue.

Protagonist Willum Cubbert, played by sophomore Nathanial Krill, is living a calm, normal, but slightly unfulfilled life as an architect.  He loves Tansy, played by sophomore Ruth Mason, but can’t quite bring himself to tell her so; thus he risks losing her to a meteorologist’s job in the city.  He has a hard-drinking, chain-smoking pal, Axel Hammond, played by sophomore Theo Collins, who tries to nudge Cubbert into solidifying his relationship with Tansy, but without success.  The cast is rounded out by the Waldgrave family, played by Timothy McDermed (Warnock Waldgrave), Jayden Spinnichia (Clelia Waldgrave), and daughter Sylvie Harrison (Thora Waldgrave).

Cubbert’s  stalled life is brought to an abrupt halt by the introduction of Rick Steadman, played by senior Sam Kruzlik, who had saved his life in Vietnam.  At the start, Cubbert feels a debt of gratitude to Steadman, whose sheer wackiness, complete ineptitude, and hopeless stupidity proceeds to turn Cubbert’s life, home, and friendships upside down, driving Cubbert to near violence.  In an interesting twist, we find out that the entire scheme was fabricated by friend Axel Hammond, who hired an actor to impersonate Steadman.  Through the experience, Cubbert decides to leave his hum-drum life, take a job in a different city, and pursue his love for Tansy. In the words of director Darcey LaBandt, “Rick is the catalyst for Willum’s epiphany, saving his life for a second time.”

Cast members brought vibrant life to the characters they portrayed.  The tension between Willum (Krill) and Tansy (Mason) is tangible as they struggle with the unsaid.  Axel Hammond (Collins) brought roars of laughter with his “chain smoking” three cigarettes at once and his ascerbic comments about the crazy situation. The Waldgrave family delighted the audience, with the strictly conservative father (McDermed), the mother who is barely holding her sanity together (Spinnichia), and their tantrum-throwing and quite spoiled daughter (Harrison).  Rick Steadman (Kruzlik) completed the absurd group with his completely unpredictable antics.  These young actors have truly come into their own, and it will be fun to see where their talents take them.

If you missed The Nerd, keep an eye out for a collections of student-directed one-act plays, coming up in April.