Student directed plays debut this week

NEWMAN THEATER STUDENTS will be performing and directing a range of plays this week. Courtesy photo, Rooslana Rusk

“MultiPLAYcity” is a project connected to Newman’s Directing II  class that allows students to step into the shoes of a director. It’s an opportunity presented every other year, and it returns at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. today and Friday in the Jabara Flexible Theater.

This year there are five student directed plays, two short plays (“Say Nothing” directed by Kirsten Sanders and “Is it Me?” directed by Niyah Norton); two one acts: (“Three Days of Rain” directed by Lauren Spencer and “Admissions” directed by Meghan McGehee,) and one full play directed by Blake Lee.  The full length play, “The Other People,” is a two-act play created by Newman alumna, Chelsea Smet.  This will be the third time that Newman has produced one of her plays. 

The director, junior Blake Lee, is participating in the project as his class final. 

“One of my actors, Trevor (Farney), acted in her last play,” Lee said. “For his capstone he asked Chelsea if we could do this and he asked if I would like to direct. I knew her work really well – I was friends with her roommate my freshmen year – and knew I would love her script.” 

Lee said that the directing process has been a unique experience. 

“It’s been a lot of fun especially getting to work with Chelsea. It’s a very tough process turning a new script into a play. Everything that you’re doing is coming straight from your mind and your actors’ minds,” Lee said. “One of the biggest challenges was figuring out how we wanted to work in sounds with the script. Once we figured it out it has brought the whole thing to life.  I’m excited for everyone to see the work Chelsea and I and my tech crew and actors have put into this script.”

Farney is excited to be doing Smet’s play for his capstone.

“It’s cool because one of the first pieces I performed in was one of her plays,” Farney said.  “It does feel like the perfect topper for all my time here. This one character brings everything that I’ve learned here at Newman. It was a wonderful experience, and I can’t wait for people to see it.”

Although Farney will be acting in the play, he will have several other roles, too, he said.

“This is a unique experience because in all the other plays you do, if you’re an actor, you don’t have to do costuming or come up with your own makeup but in this one we get to do our own thing,” Farney said.  “We had to wrangle tech people and make sure the sets were getting built and had to get our costumes together.  It’s an eye opening experience into what goes in behind the scenes.” 

“The Other People” also will be performed at 8 p.m. on April 15 with a special appearance from Smet herself.

This story first appeared in the April 8, 2018 issue of The Vantage.

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