The Daily Gamecock

USC students find community in 'Big Fish'

Zachary Linick and Erin Godfrey are hardworking students during the day, but at night they become fantastical characters in Town Theatre’s current production, "Big Fish" — a musical with underlying themes that, in some ways, mirror the experiences these two actors have had on set. 

“It’s a show about family, it’s a show about love, it’s a show about adventure,” Godfrey said. 

Godfrey, a first-year psychology student, has found community and solidarity at Town Theatre largely through her roles as an ensemble member in the production. The ensemble is a larger group of people — a community — that moves the story along. 

Linick, a fourth-year global supply chains and operations management student, plays a lead role, but agreed that the ensemble is especially important in "Big Fish" given the frenzy of backstage life, where Godfrey and Linick collectively go through 17 costume changes. 

“Some shows — musicals — out there that you see are just the main characters constantly on the stage doing everything, but this is such an ensemble show. And you see all the ensemble, like almost every single scene,” Linick said.

This is both Linick's and Godfrey's first show with Town Theatre, which is not affiliated with the university's theater program. Both actors appreciate the freedom to perform in musical productions at Town Theatre. 

"I'm more of a musical theatre type of person as opposed to just straight plays, because I'm primarily a singer. So this more suits what my passions are," Godfrey said. "This is where I will stay and keep on performing throughout my college career." 

For Godfrey, being involved in "Big Fish" was stark contrast from the experiences she had before coming to USC. She recalled her high school performances and how “clique-y” they were compared to this production. 

“Everybody’s super nice and amazing to each other and we’re all super supportive of each other," she said. "We just have a lot of fun, because everybody here is here to have a good time. We’re not here to, like, outrank each other."

The two shared that the friendships don’t stop when the curtain goes down. The cast participates in activities together outside of the theater as well. After the rush of backstage life is finished for the evening, the actors sometimes grab dinner together at nearby restaurants.

“There's just a super fun group to hang out with in general and I definitely feel like after the show I’m going to be reaching out to people to see if they want to hang out,” Godfrey said.

Big Fish’s run will end on Feb. 4, 2018, but until then, Linkick and Godfrey will use their time effectively in order to bring their characters to life at night.