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Students put on their own plays

Posted on 04.24.2013

The University of Indianapolis Theatre Department put on the Student Directed Productions April 18-21 and  April 24-27.
Student Directed Productions are typically fully staffed and designed by students. The students select the cast, direct the plays,  supervise crews, design and construct for the productions.
Sophomore theatre major Melinda Arthur is the lighting designer for the productions. She said that the process for the productions started right before Spring Break, beginning with the design meetings.
“As soon as we got back from Spring Break, we started hanging and focusing everything [the lights], and we’re still tweaking things,” Arthur said. “I’d say two weeks total, not including the whole design process.”
The first production, “417” by 2012 UIndy alumna Kyrsten Lyster, was directed by junior theatre major Will Schnabel. The production is about a police officer, named Officer Chris Hardy, who is dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Hardy’s character is portrayed by sophomore theatre major Nate Coder. Sophomore theatre and English major Elise Campagna portrays Melanie, who debriefs Hardy and triggers the mood swings for him with her questions.
The production is suspense-filled, with many different effects from lighting and sound.
“He [Hardy] goes in and out of reality. So to show the audience about which reality he’s in, we use lights to convey that,” Arthur said. “So I got to have some fun with that and, really, fun colors.”
The second production, “Check, Please!” by Jonathan Rand, was directed by sophomore theatre major Daryl Hollonquest.
It is a comedy about a guy and girl, portrayed by freshman vocal performance major Andy Wegg and sophomore theatre major Cassie Cutshaw, who go on multiple blind dates that all have something wrong with them.
Hollonquest said that he has wanted to do something with “Check, Please!” ever since he saw it in high school, and this was a perfect opportunity to direct it.
“I saw this show [‘Check, Please!’] once when I was in high school, and I thought it was hilarious,” Hollonquest said.
The last production, “Counting the Ways” by Edward Albee, was directed by junior theatre and English major Kelly Pendleton. It is a drama with two characters, portrayed by Campagna and Coder, who are dealing with an unstable marriage. This last production shows the two struggling with whether or not they love each other as she [Campagna] continuously asks her husband, “Do you love me?”
According to the playbook, each production has its own aspects where the audience has to decide how the characters lives’ go from there, and to ask themselves what they would do if they were in a similar situation in their own lives.


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