Some real class one-acts

by Tia Nearmyer

Theatre Simpson seniors took behind-the-scenes roles, but they ultimately stole the show last weekend.

Seniors Mandy Peters and Melanie Olson each directed one-act plays during Student Festival 2005. Senior Lindsey Ingles was the set and props designer.

The Student Festival gives seniors the opportunity to take some of the most important roles in a play – the director and set and props designer.

“It’s a chance to step up and take a leadership role in the department,” Peters said.

In order to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in theatre arts, students are required to take Theatre 385, Theatre Seminar.

Prior to starting work on the Student Festival, the seniors studied the plays’ background and writer, Anton Chekhov. This semester the class was taught by Tom Woldt, associate professor of theatre.

The seniors are also required to write a research paper for the class.

Ingles wrote a paper on a set designer. She was later able to apply some of what she learned from writing the paper to the stage.

The students enrolled in the class each take a position and the rest are filled by applicants from the company. Aside from actors, there are positions for student stage managers, sound technicians, costume constructionists and a lighting designer.

According to Peters, the Student Festival is an event theatre majors look forward to throughout their college career.

“It’s a chance to show what you’ve learned over the last four years,” Ingles said. “We’ve taken so many classes preparing; now we can put it all together.”

In preparation for the plays, Ingles spent countless hours drawing sketches, making sure set design was on track and turning American furniture into Russian-inspired furniture.

According to Ingles, she worked with limited resources and struggled to make it look authentic, but all the hard work paid off.

“It was nice to have a large part in the final direction,” Ingles said.

According to junior Rebecca Jackson, it can be tough having a peer as a director.

“Sometimes it’s a challenge because you are peers, but ultimately the director establishes that you’re in a professional relationship for this project,” Jackson said.

Ingles said the key to working with peers is to remember it’s the director talking, not the friend.

This year’s Theatre Seminar class only had three students; Peters, Olson and Ingles. Next year there will be four enrolled in the class.

Jackson will be one of those students, and she said she’s looking forward to taking the class with Jennifer Nostrala, professor of theatre.

“I am definitely excited about the class,” Jackson said. “They just announced next year’s season, and the seminar will be a fantastic way to close out my career at Theatre Simpson.”