Campus News

Student production of ‘An Evening with Tennessee Williams’

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Students within the college realm are often stuck by the gap between what is learned and how that will apply to one’s career. However, there are often events within a college career which help one to put the two aspects together. TennesseeWilliams One such event happened this year for April Reed, a senior theater major who was chosen by the theater department to student direct a production consisting of two one-act plays written by Tennessee Williams. Student directing a show is a rare opportunity here at Bethel and it has been a few years since a production of this nature took place here on campus. When asked if student directed productions were a common occurrence, Reed said, “No, not usually, I’m pretty sure this is the first student directing we’ve had since my freshman year.” Because this is such a rare occurrence, it is highly intriguing to learn how one goes about student directing a play. “I’ve taken several classes on directing and they pretty much have student directing applications posted on the theater board all the time,” Reed shared, “and this year I thought, why not, because I’ve taken directing 1 and advanced performance and the opportunity is pretty much open to anyone that has had those classes. It’s not many who apply because you have to be kind of upper level.” The process of applying for this theatrical position consists of only a few steps. “You’re interviewed and you have to write a paper with your application,” said Reed. Once Reed received the directing position, the next step within the process was deciding which play would be performed. When asked if she was able to choose the play, Reed said, “No, the plays were chosen for me.” So apparently, gaining the chance to student direct is still met with some supervision and guidance. Once the play was chosen, auditions could then be held. Reed shared about her thought process going into auditions. “I was actually going to double cast which means I would have had one cast do both shows but everyone was just so great that it turned out that I wanted everyone in it, but I still couldn’t,” she said. “I only cut about four or five people but everyone who auditioned was great.” With a cast list determined and ideas beginning to form, the rehearsals began taking place. “We cast the show the week before finals last semester, and they had the whole break to learn their lines,” said Reed. “We’ve been rehearsing since the second week of classes. Three nights a week with me there, they do sometimes have line drills on the nights I’m not there. Three or four weeks of rehearsal total for this whole thing.” So what is the show about? “Tennessee Williams is the playwright, and we titled the play that because it’s two one act plays and they’re both of similar themes, while still being very different,” Reed shared. “The first one is about two old ladies who try to make money off tourists through the use of Lord Byron’s love letter. It is kind of comical because the two old ladies have just given up on life and are shut ins, when they really should have been going out and about.” Reed added, “The second one act is about a woman who has petunias in front of her shop and it starts with them being crushed and she tries to find the culprit, and the culprit actually wanders in her store and she has to confront them, but he tries to sell her something else.” After mere weeks of rehearsal Reed and her cast are ready to perform and share with audience members the life lessons to be gleaned from this play. Performances are this weekend, February 5 and 6, at 7:30 p.m. both nights in the Middleton Hall of Science Octorium.
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