Sex, drugs and Reagan

Sock ‘n’ Buskin Theatre Company is taking on a more risky production with This is Our Youth, but that’s exactly what attracted the company to it in the first place, said director Iain Moggach.

Each year, Sock ‘n’ Buskin puts on a modern, more edgy type of play, Moggach said. This is Our Youth, which will run Nov. 30 to Dec. 4, is a powerful, politically-charged story set in the early 1980s and billed as “a tale of sex, drugs and Ronald Reagan.”

Moggach said he hopes that students see a lot of themselves in the characters.

“Not literally, of course, with the drugs and what not. But the underlying issues,” he said.

The issues in this play are still prevalent for youth decades later, Moggach said, citing the challenges for young people trying to get jobs and make a name for themselves.

The play follows the unique coming-of-age story of three high school students, as 19-year-old Warren Straub gets kicked out of his home and steals $15,000, his friend Dennis Ziegler uses some of the money to deal drugs. At the same time, Straub tries to woo Jessica Goldman.

Modern and edgy productions are a lot of fun to work on, Moggach said. For this particular play, the fact that the characters are around the same age as the actors makes it easier for them to relate to, he said.

“They can get more into it instead of being restricted by Shakespearean language,” Moggach said.

First-year journalism student Luke Bradley plays Straub. He said there’s a lot of depth and emotional growth in his character after he gets kicked out of his home.

“His raw journey is powerful,” Bradley said.

Compared to plays Bradley’s performed in the past, This is Our Youth is more vulgar.

“There’s no cheesy, like, gosh darnit, you know?” Bradley said.

This is Our Youth is the type of production that Sock ‘n’ Buskin hasn’t done in a long time, Moggach said.

“This is a small cast with big ideas. It’s a show for university students as well as by university students,” Moggach said.

He said he hopes people really catch on to the power and relevance of this production.

Sock ‘n’ Buskin’s approach to the ‘80s is the costumes, whereas the play itself uses the era to show its relevance to the generations that follow.

“It really speaks to people,” Moggach said. “This is a play that people will want to tell."