Meg Kelly, '17, stands on the roof of the bus station serving as the set for the play Violet during rehearsal Wednesday evening, Nov. 11, 2015 in the Diamond Theatre. The play is a reproduction of the Broadway version in 2014. (Roshan Giyanani/B&W photo)

‘Violet’ play explores theme of inner beauty


The curtains are drawn back, the audience hushes and lights settle on the front stage to show the main character, Violet, waiting at a Greyhound bus station to set out on her journey towards healing and self discovery.

Straight off of Broadway, the 2014 production of “Violet” opened in Zoellner’s Diamond Theater over the weekend and concludes with four more performances continuing later this week.

“Violet” is a story of a young woman’s journey to heal a disfiguring scar that she received in a wood chopping accident wherein an axe flew off its handle and sliced her face. Her trip eventually develops into a spiritual discovery to heal scars that go much deeper than skin, according to assistant stage manger Caraline Jeffrey, ’18.

As an assistant manager, Jeffrey’s job mainly entails keeping track of all activities and individuals, moving around props and scenery pieces and making sure the actors are prepared. On performance night she can be found backstage making sure that everyone and everything gets to where they need to be on time.

“The backstage world of this production would collapse if it were not for Caraline,” director Pam Pepper said. “Her and Winnie Gu are our rocks. They run a very tight ship and assume massive amounts of responsibilities.”

The cast and crew of “Violet” consists of 52 people with 15 making up the total cast, with some even playing up to five different characters throughout the play. Jeffrey said the cast is diverse and comes from different backgrounds, generations and schools including DeSales University, but all involved are united by talent.

Eden Weinflash, ’17, plays the lead as Violet and said the play tells a story about inner beauty and a sheltered girl. Violet has faced a lot of rejection and can relate with people in the audience who have felt lonely, rejected or unworthy. Pepper said an open and receptive viewer could potentially learn a lot from the topic.

“She discovers as she travels and as she meets people along the way she discovers a lot about the true meaning of beauty and learns about the unnecessary importance we lay on it,” Pepper said.

Every season, Pepper, along with the theater department, must go through the process of choosing the right production based on genre, as well as what captures the broad scope of a four-year university experience for the students. Pepper said looking for students to get involved in both the actual production and becoming a part of the audience is a main focus in choosing which play by looking for something that has meaning or depth for students to sink their teeth into.

“We also look for issues that are here in the Lehigh culture and society,” Pepper said. “Things that might speak to student, things that might give voice to students that won’t necessarily feel comfortable with a voice or maybe don’t feel privileged.”

Weinflash describes Violet as an ambitious young woman who has journeyed from being sheltered in her naivety and rejected to eventually becoming empowered. She said Violet tells a story that should give advice to others feeling who feel the same way, and encourages that you should not give up on your dreams even when people laugh in your face.

“Even if your specific dreams don’t work out, something else will,” Weinflash said. “It might not be the way it originally intended to but life has a way of somehow making sense.”

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