Setting the stage for The Good Doctor

Poly students will enjoy a well-deserved break from their rigorous studies on Wednesday, April 16 with the opening of the Performing Arts Club’s annual spring play. This year, PAC has set the stage for The Good Doctor by Neil Simon.

When people think comedy, they think Neil Simon. That’s how PAC’s director and president, Mikhail Sapozhnikov, a senior computer science major, explained the executive board’s choice to perform the play written in the style of literary giant Anton Chekhov.

The play’s narrator, an imagined Chekhov who practiced medicine throughout his literary career, invites the audience into a humorous, albeit slightly twisted, adventure through his mind as he struggles with a bout of writer’s block.

“The play shows how dynamic our group is,” says Mikhail, a first-time director and three-year member of PAC who is more used to being on the stage than behind it. “I had to learn how to let the actors evolve on their own and let them interpret things.”

The Good Doctor features nearly 20 actors – the most of any previous PAC play – in various vignettes. Staging a play meant to show multiple locations was a challenge. The inventive stage design by graduate student Gary Tunak includes spotlights and partitions to signal scene changes.

Mikhail says that there was an especially large turn out by this year’s freshman class to participate on and off the stage. He sees involvement in the play and PAC’s other annual event, a music showcase, as a great way for students to be well-rounded and receive recognition for talents that they might not ordinarily be able to share. He says “it’s a great feeling to look out and see your classmates and teachers” enjoying the show.

What can people expect when they come see The Good Doctor? Quite simply, Mikhail says, “a good time.”

The Good Doctor plays Wednesday & Thursday, April 16 & 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the Pfizer Auditorium