Underground theater

Underground theater

by Laura Keller

Poetry. Interpretive dance. Maybe even some old-fashioned clog dancing.

“People can do absolutely anything, there are no limitations,” junior Sarah Harriman said.

The Underground is an informal gathering of student performers.

Harriman is house manager of the Performing Arts house, which hosts Underground performances.

This year the house will be holding eight shows – double what it hosted last year. The “open-mic” environment gives everyone who wants to perform an opportunity to show off their artistic abilities.

There has only been one show so far this fall, but more students have already shown greater interest than last year.

According to Harriman, they are gaining a bigger audience and better acts with each show.

Shows in the past have run 45 minutes to an hour, but with more people interested in performing this year, Harriman estimates the shows will run an hour to an hour and a half.

“It’s amazing how much the campus has gotten involved this year,” senior Jenna Bruning said.

Bruning is a member of the PA house. She has helped host the Underground in the past.

The performers enjoy the Underground because of the lighthearted atmosphere.

“There’s nothing but love there,” junior Anders Dovre said.

Dovre has been a regular on the Underground stage since his first performance last year. He is one of the many musical acts, writing and performing his own songs as well as covers.

Dovre is looking forward to playing his music at the Underground again this year and was excited to hear there will be more shows.

“There is a spirit there that makes you free to express yourself,” Dovre said. “The people are very open.”

Although the PA house sponsors the Underground, theater and music majors aren’t the only participants. New performers are always welcome.

“There is a complete variety of people and we love having the entire campus involved,” Bruning said.

Harriman said those considering performing should come and see what it’s like.

“Everyone is really laid back and anyone who wants to perform should just go and watch,” Harriman said. “The people are hilarious and it’s a ton of fun.”

At every Underground performance, the members of the PA house collect donations for the AIDS Project of Central Iowa as part of their community service.

Last year the shows raised approximately $100. At the first show this year, almost $80 was collected. They hope to more than triple their donations this year.

The donations given to the AIDS Project help to fund a variety of things including medical-bill aid and housing for people living with HIV.

Bruning has volunteered with the AIDS Project in the past and hopes the PA house will be able to help it more in the future.

“We are planning on doing a lot more work with the AIDS Project this year,” Harriman said. “We’ve surpassed donation goals and we’re really happy with the results so far.”