John Grant, A&E Reporter

Theatre students opened Pandora’s Box during their play Pandora in Blue Jeans.

The play Pandora in Blue Jeans is about the life of American author Grace Metalious and her ground-breaking novel Peyton Place. The 1956 novel sparked outrage due to its themes of adultery, classism, incest, murder and abortion in a small New Hampshire town.

Metalious died in 1964 due to her addiction to alcohol. Her alcoholism started when she became rich and famous because of her debut book. She followed it with Return to Peyton Place in 1959.

Pandora in Blue Jean’s underlying message was that people should be careful what they wish for. Metalious wanted to be famous, and in the process, she lost everything, including her life. The play’s title is from her nickname because she opened a Pandora’s Box of sin in small-town America.

Daniel Sutherland played two characters in Pandora in Blue Jeans, Doc Swain and Metalious’ second husband T.J. Martin. Sutherland felt the last line from Metalious’s character captured the essence of the play, and indeed her life.

Metalious believed as she neared death due to cirrhosis of the liver that she would rather be poor and happy, rather than famous and unhappy.

“I think one of the most important lines is right at the end of the play when Grace says, ‘be careful what you wish for, you might just get it,’” Sutherland said. “It’s a tragedy in a way, and it’s actually a really poignant kind of lesson. She dreamt of becoming a writer, and she got her dream and then it all falls apart.”

“I don’t think much has changed although the outside veneer has changed, but not really, the (issues of) abortion, racism, classism, sexism, violence, all of those things are still with us,”

Karin Randoja, Director

Director Karin Randoja combined the two worlds of Metalious’ life and book to show the irony that ensued when Metalious created a world of distress for the characters in her novel, and later faced similar adversities to the characters she created and wrote about.

Moreover, Randoja also wanted to contrast how people lived then with how people live now, and that despite the passage of time, some of these issues are still common.

Moreover, Randoja also wanted to contrast how people lived then with how people live now, and that despite the passage of time, some of these issues are still common.

“I don’t think much has changed although the outside veneer has changed, but not really, the (issues of) abortion, racism, classism, sexism, violence, all of those things are still with us,” said Randoja.

Lorena Villegas played the character Selena Cross. Her character would become pregnant because she was raped by her alcoholic father. Regardless of all of these obstacles, Villegas believes there are many positives to take away from her character.

“What happened to Selena Cross, I have never experienced that, but I think, she always finds the positive because she’s a dreamer and things like that, and that’s a great way of thinking,” she said.

The role Metalious was played by Keely Krall. She believes people are in an age of mental health, and people feel lonely and are losing their sense of community and that there is a resemblance to life now to Peyton Place.

“We kind of hide things under a facade and I feel like everyone in Grace’s life was hiding under these facades, like facades of small towns and that we’re so nice and so perfect,” Krall said. “But, really, there’s so much grit going on, and no one wants to talk about the truth.”

However, she is thankful theatre brings people together so they can interact as humans.

“Every piece of theatre brings people together, sitting in an audience with human beings is a sense of community and gives a sense of energy,” Krall said.

“There are so many characters in this story and so many little moments that happen that anyone can relate to.”