The Annual Student Directed Productions from the University of Indianapolis Theatre Department returned Nov. 20 and will continue on Dec. 4 through Dec. 6. Each day, the show will start at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.
All SDPs performances are held in the Studio Theatre in the basement of Esch Hall.
The show consists of four plays that are 15 to 30 minute cuttings from scripts. This year’s SDPs will feature “A Kind of Alaska” by Harold Pinter, “Happy Birthday, Wanda June” by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., “The Maids” by Jean Genet and “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead” by Bert V. Royal.
Every year, the Theatre Department works on productions from various genres chosen by the student directors. SDPs give students the opportunity to gain advanced experience by producing their own show – having to make decisions about their show from cast to technical aspects.
The performance has two acts. The first act features “A Kind of Alaska” about a woman who wakes up from a 29 year sleeping sickness and “Happy Birthday, Wanda June” a play about a woman coping with the loss of her big game hunter husband, while attempting to start dating again.
The second act features “The Maids” about French maids planning murder on their employer and“Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead” a reimaging of the Peanuts gang as teenagers
Senior theatre major and director of “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead” Daryl Hollonquest Jr. said he feels great to have the chance to produce a show through SDPs.
“I get experience by directing my own show. Having the opportunity to mount a real show can prepare me for any chance with theatre in the real world,” Hollonquest said. “I am excited to present my show. . . my cast is doing a really good job, everyone has been doing a great work and I’m proud of it. Our goal is to entertain the audience and I’m sure people will love the show.”
Senior theatre and English major and director of “A Kind of Alaska” Elise Campagna said the best skill a student director learns from SDPs is collaboration.
“We [directors] learn to collaborate with actors, designers and all other members of the production. We don’t intend to control others, but to be the center point of a project and be willing to help others,” Campagna said. “It is a challenge…sometimes we may have conflicts but that’s natural. We always find a way to solve any concern and to compromise. We want to support each other and all to succeed. So conflict is minimal.
Junior theatre major and actor in “A kind of Alaska,” “The Maids,” and “Happy Birthday, Wanda June” Morgan Jackson said performing is the place where she feels most like herself.
“It’s incredible how much you learn about yourself by playing a different person. SDPs is a fantastic experience because I get to work with new directors every year, but it’s also a huge learning environment,” Jackson said.
For sophomore theatre major and actor in “Happy Birthday, Wanda June” Tim Allen, acting has always been his passion as he said it allows him to have a creative outlet and to explore the realms of his imagination.
“SDPs gives me the opportunity to work more closely with my peers, and also the ability to learn the many different aspects of theatre in a less stressed environment,” Allen said.
The annual Student-Directed Productions is a time when theatre students can show their talents on stage.
“Acting is more than just being on stage. It is a way of expressing deep internal feelings, a way to release desire,” said senior theatre major and actor in “Happy Birthday, Wanda June” Eric Brockett. “SDPs gives me a chance to see how much further I can get as an actor…my goal is to appear as genuine as I can and to produce integrity when I perform.”
The general admission for the performances is $12. Entrance for seniors, groups of eight or more, and non-UIndy students with ID is $10 per person. Attendance is free to UIndy students, faculty and staff.
Performances usually sell out quickly, so it is recommended that anyone interested purchase your tickets in advance. Tickets online or at the box office the same day.