The Studio Theatre in Galvin will host one last theatrical project before kicking back to relax over winter break.
It will be prepared by the students in this semester's directing class as one-act plays, directed by the students themselves. During this class, students have been learning the ins and outs of directing techniques from Dr. Corinne Johnson. Students chose a one-act to prepare for their final project. They auditioned their shows in mid-October, and their performances will be split between the last Monday and Wednesday of finals week. The following is a nod to the directors and briefly describes their shows. There's also snippets of their thoughts on what the directing process has meant to them.
Mallory Baldwin (Junior, Theatre major) is directing "Vines in the Vacuum" by Jimmy Burnelle. The story portrays the struggles of taking care of a loved one with a disability. Ramona (Cami Sackett) must care for her quadriplegic brother, Gene (Jonathan Johnson). This often tests her relationship with her husband, Joseph (Jordan McGinnis).
Baldwin chose this one-act based on her personal ties to the story. She lived with her grandmother who had Alzheimer's disease, and she said she feels many people can relate to the story in some way or another. She has loved collaborating with her actors. Baldwin also acknowledges the great amount of work a director must put into a piece in order to successfully incorporate all of the elements that make up a show.
"You have to remember that you are the one driving it; you are the one with the paintbrush," Baldwin said. "And that is a big responsibility."
"Vines in the Vacuum" will be performed Dec. 12.
Austin Eiben (Senior, Theatre major) is directing Carol Lashof's "Medusa's Tale." The young hero Perseus (Jordan McGinnis) is out to slay Medusa (Val Zawada). But he finds himself at the mercy of listening to her tell the true story of how she became the gorgon. Her story includes such mythical characters as Athena (Darian Auge) and Poseidon (Kevin Noel), as well as a Girl (Andrea Rivera).
Eiben chose his piece based on a love for mythology. His toughest obstacles include holding a directorial position among his peers, as well as keeping them engaged during late-night rehearsals. Eiben has liked watching his actors embrace their roles and transform into the characters. Being on the directing side of a production has given him a new perspective on theatre.
"There's a giant difference between acting and directing that I had never contemplated before," Eiben said.
"Medusa's Tale" will be performed Dec. 10.
Jacob Hanenberger (Junior, Theatre major) is directing "Another Way Out" by Lawrence Langner. Set in New York City in 1916, Pendleton (Cody Johnson) and Margaret (Amanda Kochanny) often are ridiculed for living together while unmarried. Throughout the piece, all of the characters try to find new ways of making their bizarre relationships work. Supporting characters include the Baroness de Mauville/Costumier (Shannon Rourke), Charles Fenton/Dictionary Salesman (Connor Strandquist), and Mrs. Abbey/Maid (Becca Brazil).
Hanenberger chose this piece for the odd, yet entertaining qualities of its characters. His biggest challenge has been trying to keep everything–props, costumes, mannerisms–true to the piece's time period. He has enjoyed experiencing the other side of the rehearsal process.
"I have learned how much work a director has to put into a show and how exciting it can be to see it all come together," Hanenberger said.
"Another Way Out" will be performed Dec. 10.
Stacy Phipps (Senior, Theatre Education major) is directing Alice Gerstenberg's "Overtones." The content wrestles with the idea of split identities: one for the body and one for its emotions. The real time characters are the refined Margaret (Kellyn Cochran) and Harriet (Kristen Jett). The characters of Maggy (Sofia Foreman) and Hetty (Stephanie Tirado) represent the wild, emotional sides of each character, respectively.
Phipps chose her piece because she wanted to explore this rather terrifying idea of split identities and share it with the audience. With two of her actors masked, she said it has been exciting to help them find their emotions through physical movement instead of facial expression.
"I have confirmed that this is most definitely the type of work I want to do the rest of my life," Phipps said. "This is an absolutely thrilling process."
"Overtones" will be performed on Dec. 12.
Tim Stompanato (Senior, Theatre & Philosophy double major) is directing "The Lesson" by Eugene Ionesco. This French absurdist piece centers on the Professor (Mike Kline, '11) and his Pupil (Meghan McLaughlin). The piece begins with the Maid (Val Zawada) welcoming the Pupil to the Professor's flat for a lesson, as usual. But none of them know the dark lesson that will unfold over the day's work.
Stompanato chose this piece for its indictment of the education system, and how it specifically "touches on the dangers that educational oppression has on us and society." He feels his difficulty with directing is mostly in scheduling and paperwork. Stompanato said he has been most fascinated with the collaborative nature of the process itself.
"I absolutely love the power of creativity that a director has," Stompanato said.
"The Lesson" will be performed Dec. 10.
Performances of all the plays are held in the Studio Theatre. Admission is free, and it is a first-come-first-serve policy in the small, 50-seat theatre. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 10 and Dec 12 in anticipation of a 7 p.m. curtain.
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