Cancer Survivor Directs "I Need More Time. Thanks!"

By: Heather Beyer

“I Need More Time! Thanks!” written by Yulia Gray and directed by Caorl Eustey, begins with a woman who finds a lump in her breast.

From that point on, the audience is taken on a journey with her from the time she discovers the abnormality to the decision that so many woman face. Will I call the doctor? Should I call the doctor? What is the next step? Do I really want to know what this is or is it easier to ignore it?

“A lot of people are afraid of knowing,” Eustey said. “But knowing is the first step to survival.”

Eustey chose to direct this production during Breast Cancer Awareness month. The play has a special message to those affected by the disease.

“Awareness and getting the word out is so important,” Eustey said. “We are afraid of what we don’t know. We are afraid of what we don’t understand. So the more we know about the disease, the more we know about the treatment and even how it has progressed over the years. There was a time when you received a breast cancer diagnosis and it was a death sentence.”

Eustey is a breast cancer survivor. The play holds a significant meaning to her. At times, she said, it was emotionally difficult to direct.

“There were times when I had to take a break. The story was so similar to what I experienced,” Eustey said. “I have been on both sides of it, as the patient and as the caregiver. This was a play that was full of hope and I thought that this would be a good month to put out a major message about hope.

“The reason that we should fight cancer may not be for ourselves, but for our loved ones. There are so many people who love us and are connected to us. If you don’t want to get checked for yourself, do it for those who love you. This piece touches on why you should want to have more time,” Eustey said.

Eustey is no stranger to the stage. She has appeared in numerous productions in the Akron area and at the University, including “For Colored Girls,” “Taming of the Shrew” and “The Gospel According to Tammy Faye.” She is also an accomplished director and has directed four productions at the University of Akron.

“I have incorporated a new directing style by allowing the cast to discover and create. Then I remind them of what works and what doesn’t work,” Eustey said. “I was directing like a basketball coach, a lot of people were getting offended; now I am more like a dance instructor. There is a process to everything. Plan your process through and stick with it. Things will work every time.”

Actress Diana Perez played the role of Emma. Her character discovers an abnormality on her breast and struggles with what her next step should be.

“This is my second time working with Caorl. She was very hard on me. If they don’t piss you off then they haven’t done their job,” Perez said. “I have grown so much throughout this process.”

Camilla Warrenmuse played the role of Trudy, a friend of Emma who died from breast cancer. She is portrayed as an angelic character. She encourages Emma to go to the doctor to find out what the abnormality is and not to be afraid to live her life to the fullest.

“It has been a learning experience working with Caorl. Her directing skills are awesome. She wants perfection, but that is what good directors do,” Warrenmuse said.

Playwright Yulia Gray was inspired by “life” and the death of her friend an acquaintance when she wrote this play.

“Caorl is an inspiration in how tireless and uncompromising she is in her quest to achieve her artistic vision. I hope that after seeing this play, people will think about things that are important in their lives,” Gray said.

“I Need More Time! Thanks!” premiered last weekend at Guzzetta Hall. Additional performances were added on that weekend due to the show’s success.