Student-run plays gives practical experience

Anthony Hellmueller

Gordon Wilson Hall theater lab is offering plenty of practice to aspiring directors in the Theatre and Dance department this semester.

Advanced students in the department are taking the Directing Studio Practicum course, where they gain skills in directing, performance, design, technical theater and play writing. They will then use those skills to direct their own plays at the end of the semester.

Richard Scott Stroot, the instructor for the class and Theatre and Dance Department head, said students in the course direct a show of their choice in the lab.

“Its real good, solid, practical experience,” Stroot said.

Students like Louisville junior Joe Starr who are directing these shows said the venue is a good one for their first attempts at directing.

“It’s a nice space and is very intimate,” Starr said. “It’s kind of like our own little lab, so we get to do whatever we want in it. I like it.”

The course can also help the students see if directing is what they really want to do.

“I love working with the actors,” Starr said. “However, there’s a lot of paper work and decision making involved. I don’t handle those things very well.”

The cast and crew of these shows are generally made of incoming freshmen and students new to the program.

Hartford freshman Jay Renfro is a cast member of one of the plays. He said acting in a studio practicum play has been helpful.

“I’m looking for any way to improve my craft,” he said.

Stroot said the shows are an important showcase for the whole department.

“Nearly all of our students come to these shows,” he said.

The studio plays will conclude on April 29.


All the Monday and Tuesday shows start at 8 p.m. Each play can run anywhere from 15 minutes to 50 minutes and costs $3 per night.

Remaining shows for the semester include:

April 14, 15

•”Muzeeka” by John Guare, directed by Lewisberg sophomore Michael Pettit: A political satire mocking middle class ethics and Vietnam War coverage.

•”Boiling People in My Coffee” by Johnathon Yukich, directed by Louisville junior Joe Starr: A dark comedy in which a married couple copes with the reality that their son has died.

April 28, 29

•”The Fountain” by cast, crew, audience; directed by Scott Rygalski, a senior from Little Rock, Ark.: The piece will include various happenings and accounts of everyday life viewed in a different way.

•”The Savage Sex (La Femme Fatale)” by D.W. Gregory, directed by David Lee Smith III, a Danville junior: A farce about the strained relationships between men and women.

•”Rattle/Rattle” by Wendy McLaughlin, directed by Bowling Green sophomore Ben Hagan: This show is about an 18-year-old girl who is sexually molested while in the hospital after a homicidal confrontation with her father.

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