Pittsburg State University Theatre featured “The Revenge of the Space Pandas or Binky Rudich and the Two-speed Clock”, a science fiction comedic children’s play by David Mamet from Feb.21 to Feb. 24. at 7:30 p.m. Feb.21-23 and 2 p.m. on Feb. 23-24.
Directed by Megan Westhoff, the play centers around the adventures of Binky Rudich, his friend Vivian Mooster, and his pet sheep named Bob. Binky is a 12-year-old inventor and scientist who lives in Waukegan, Illinois. Binky, along with Vivian and Bob are tinkering with an old alarm clock with two ‘speeds’. One speed is for the current time, and the other would freeze their current time and whisk them away to another dimension. The story picks up when Binky accidently activates the clock into working which results in him and his companions being whirled into another dimension just as his mother is about to call them to lunch. The group lands on another planet called Crestwood, where they are met by “space pandas” and are brought to meet George Topax, the ruler of the planet. Topax is determined to keep Bob the Sheep on the planet in order to harvest his wool and create a sweater for himself. The friends must work together to find a way to protect Bob from Topax’s schemes, and a way off the planet.
Megan Westhoff, director of the play, said in her director’s notes that the play focuses on the “importance of friendship and the value of exploring childhood imagination and make-believe”.
“To remember those times when they were kids and were make-believing and to remember those times and also remember the ‘funness’ of childhood friendships, because some of those can be the most formative (is important),” Westhoff said on the play. “The last thing is to remember make–believe is not bad. We need that as adults and sometimes that’s something we lose as adults.”
Julia M. Longo, junior in international business, enjoyed the play and said the play reminded her of important lessons.
“I learned that having good friends is always a good deal,” Longo said. “It (the play) was good, really entertaining, the costumes and dresses… the whole thing (was) really good.”
The children’s play appealed to a wide range of attendees. According to Westhoff, the shows had great attendance, with their first showing for school students from Labette County and St. Paul being sold-out.
“I’ve always loved this play… and I’ve loved it because it has different levels of humor…,” Westhoff said. “I love children’s plays that can appeal to kids but also appeals to adults on a different level. I’ve always loved the sarcasm and fun part of it.”
The theme of friendship extended beyond the play and into the lives of those involved with the production, according to Scott Ladish, freshman in communication education.
“The comradery of everyone getting to come spend the evenings with friends (was my favorite part),” Ladish, who played Binky, said “We’re basically like a family at this point after spending months together.”