The theatre season is starting for NKU and many students will have a chance to participate in two distinct plays and a musical this semester.
The first production this fall will be “Moby Dick–Rehearsed,” a play by Orson Welles about a theatre troupe that comes together to rehearse “King Lear,” but ends up reading a new play instead. The other productions will include the Shakespearean comedy, “As You Like It,” and the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, “South Pacific.”
Ken Jones, the Lois and Richard Rosenthal chair, said NKU is on a four-year rotation of productions that are specifically designed to give every student an educational and entertaining experience.
“We’ve taken all of 2,000 years of theatre history and whittled it down to plays you can see in four years,” Jones said.
No matter when a student starts school, they’ll have a chance to see a variety of plays and musicals, according to Jones.
There are several opportunities to get involved in the theatre department, Jones explained. Instead of acting, students can work backstage building sets or with the costume department and making props. Those interested can help with lighting, makeup or even running the show with the backstage and fly crews.
“You can get involved in all kinds of different ways,” Jones said. “We have people coming from every direction, every kind of discipline, so that’s a great world. That’s a great mixing pot on campus to get involved in.”
The department began working on this season’s lineup last fall and the stage and technical crews have already been working through the summer to ensure this season is a success.
Jordan Loyd, junior and assistant stage manager for “Moby Dick–Rehearsed,” said he finds it rewarding that while he is still learning, himself, he gets the chance to be hands-on and creative.
“You build the box that the actors work in,” Loyd said. “You get to have your own stamp and you…build the shoes for the next person to work in.”
Senior Steve Fields said the reason he and others get into stage management is because they’re the ones who make everything happen.
“Our greatest victory on a production is watching others succeed to the best of their abilities,” Fields said. “We work for the general success of the show.”
Junior Carissa Gandenberger said she enjoyed having a part in the technical aspects of theatre because it allowed her to know every step that was taken for the production to get on its feet.
Still, she believes that it can be a challenge at times even though she enjoys it.
“We’re in college and we’re learning so it’s a very high pressure job, but it sort of forces us to grow,” Gandenberger said.
The theatre department is 35 years old and is the biggest theatre program in Kentucky with approximately 250 students. The department offers a Bachelor of Arts degree, which is for anyone interested in studying theatre and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, which is a pseudo-conservatory degree that people have to audition for, according to Jones.
Every penny that is earned from the productions goes directly back into the theatre department to help with the plays, musicals and the five NKU Tour Troupes that perform for elementary and high schools in the area, said Jones.
Auditions are open to any NKU student and were held on Tuesday with callbacks held on Wednesday and being held on Thursday. Rehearsals for Moby Dick–Rehearsed will begin on Friday, Aug. 23. Anyone interested in working with the technical crew can contact department Academic Coordinator Sandy Davis in FA 205.