Simpson Productions goes live for the first time in over a year

%22Suppressed+Desires%22+is+being+directed+by+senior+Jack+Strub+as+part+of+the+2021+Festival+of+Short+Plays.+

Alyssa Whitham

“Suppressed Desires” is being directed by senior Jack Strub as part of the 2021 Festival of Short Plays.

by Amelia Schafer, News Editor

@ameliaschafers

It’s been over a year since Simpson Productions students were able to take the stage and perform live. This weekend, they’ll finally be able to present in front of an audience again. 

Theatre students are required to participate in the festival of short plays for the major. 

The last live in-person event for Simpson Productions was their performance of the “Pirates of Penzance” in early March 2020. 

This year’s theme for the Festival of Short plays is an exploration of theater from the time period between World War I and World War II. 

Seniors Jack Strub, Eden Moad and junior Will Exline have been taking their hand in directing performances. 

“I’m directing Fay Ehlert’s ‘The Undercurrent’, and it was written in 1938,” Moad said. “And it is, at first glance, kind of revolving around this girl whose name is Annie. It follows an encounter where Annie’s personal life outside of the home kind of gets brought into the light. And she has to deal with the after-effects of what that does to her relationship with the different members of her family.”

Moad said they felt drawn to direct this play.

“I ended up really wanting to direct this one,” Moad said. “While the other two directors were like, you know, we’d rather direct to Susan Glaspell plays one of those. And I said, hey, that’s great, because I really connected with this one, and like the family aspect of it, and the intricacies of families.”

Strub and Exline are directing two separate plays by Susan Glaspell. Strub will be directing “Suppressed Desires,” while Exline directs “The People”

“‘Suppressed Desires’ is about a married couple, one of them is an architect, and they’re very high life, and they’re all about bourgeois and all this,” Strub said. “And the wife has gotten really into psychoanalysis. And she’s constantly trying to figure out everything that’s wrong with her husband and her sister when she comes for a visit.” 

Strub thinks of directing as a puzzle, with the actors acting as the pieces. 

“My brain is very analytical, and I did engineering and math and stuff, and in high school, so I’m very kind of left brain,” Strub said. “But then when I get to be directing, I’m doing my theater work and all this, and so I see it as a really big puzzle. And for me, it’s like a challenge to figure out okay, if they move here, does that mean they have to go there and like just figure out how it all naturally comes together and finding those really fun moments.”

Directing students work with actors with a wide range of experience. Some have no theater experience, while others have been acting for years.

“There’s always those rehearsals where you’re really struggling,” Strub said. “And then suddenly something happens and everything sort of switches, and it’s like, oh my god, it’s just everything kind of falls into place.”

Performances will take place April 16-18 at the Memorial Park Amiptheater in Indianola. While the performances are free to view, tickets can be reserved online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/festival-of-short-plays-2021-between-the-wars-tickets-141868284859.