Taking chances in the arts world is viewed as a badge of honor. It challenges and reveals. The CSU theatre students are learning all about those hurdles as they plan and rehearse an upcoming production. The script is being written by half a dozen students under the supervision of Dr. Carissa Smith, professor of English. It’s an unconventional approach to script writing because there’s no template. With every meeting and rehearsal, the dialogue is tweaked, adjusted, deleted and filtered. It’s fair to say the process is quite fluid in its formulation.
Dr. Thomas Keating, professor of Theatre, says “We’re trying to create something uplifting.” He’s selected 12 students to present this piece which is based on a poem called “Diving into the Wreck.” The poem, itself, speaks to a journey and transformation with multiple possibilities for symbolism. But Keating has added an additional wrinkle to the production by interlacing the poem with the personal story of CSU’s Health Promotion Director, Dr. Kate Thomas. Thomas’ life in the U.S. Marine Corps presented constant challenges to adapting and confronting. Keating admits that he warned his students “…this is an experimental-type theatre piece, so know what you’re in for.”
A set built in the theatre program’s performing space will take the form of a dock or seaside scene. That, too, is a work-in-progress and subject to revision. The performers may be allowed some latitude in improvisation because the concept is so free-flowing. Keating wants the actors to feel comfortable to express and explore, but the challenge is finding the proper amount of freedom. “I still want them to perform in a cage, but I’m giving them a big cage.”
The goal of the production is to remind people they have a voice--particularly women. An underlying theme of how we deal with lies and labels and gender stereotypes will be candidly revealed.
With so many unknowns and such an experimental and free-flowing approach, what’s the expectation? “I keep telling my students,” says Dr. Keating, “even though we’re going where no CSU theatre group has gone before, this is an exciting and creative process.”
Performances are scheduled November 8-11 at 7:30 p.m. in CSU’s Blackbox Theatre in the Lightsey Music building. Each performance is expected to last an hour, or so, with no intermission.