Underground provides entertainment, help to AIDS Project of Iowa

by Andrew Goodell

Residents of the Performing Arts house are demonstrating asocial conscience with their cabaret-styled series called TheUnderground.

In order to live in a theme house, the residents are required toprovide a community service that benefits both the campus and thegreater Indianola community.

This is anything but a chore for the PA house members becausethey enjoy performing, according to sophomore Sarah Harriman, amember of the PA house.

The Underground passes on any donations at their performances tothe AIDS Project of Iowa.

“It’s for a good cause that needs a lot of help,” Harriman said.”It’s fun to put on a whole bunch of acts and benefit people withAIDS.”

According senior Mandy Peters, The Underground consists of avariety of different performing styles presented in 10-12 separatepieces.

Harriman said that they have had every kind of performanceincluding monologues, duets, improv comedy and story time at TheUnderground.

“We’ve even had people do interpretive dance,” Peters said.

This hour or so worth of performance time concludes with all sixresidents of the PA house collaborating on the final performance.Collaboration is the name of the game in The Underground becausethere is no official leader of the group.

“We all work as a team,” Peters said.

Publicity efforts for The Underground are not extremelyaggressive and consist of little more than Harriman sending outcampus-wide e-mails. However, attendance at their last performancewas an estimated 80 people. Harriman said only four of those 80were there because of a class requirement for DiscoveringTheater.

Immediately following every Underground performance, thehousemates urge the audience to become socially conscious.

“We ask for donations for the AIDS Project at the end,” Harrimansaid.

While performing may be fun for PA house residents, the true aimof their late-night performances is to get the audience to donateto the AIDS Project, according to Peters and Harriman.

“In the arts, a lot of people suffer from AIDS and helping thoseafflicted is meaningful to us as artists,” Peters said.