Loot:The Students’ Take

A committee in NKU’s Theater Department made a decision in March that would affect the lives of theater students at NKU. The committee chose the plays that would be performed at NKU for the 2010/2011 season.

“They try to choose plays that challenge students in new ways,” said Loot Director Mark Hardy. The desire to challenge students is what led the committee to choose “Loot”, which will open the season on Sept. 23 and run through Oct. 3.

Hardy didn’t want to spoil too much about the plot of “Loot,” but he did express that the play deals with dark issues, and it pushes a lot of buttons ­— in short, a play that presents great opportunities for NKU actors to stretch themselves. In a press release from the theater department, the play is described as “the Importance of ‘Being Earnest’ meets one of the darker cable series, like ‘Dexter’ or ‘Breaking Bad.’”

Acting major Spenser Smith, who plays Truscott, agreed with Hardy.

“(Playwright) Joe Orton wrote the play about corruption in the police force and cracks in the judicial system,” Smith said. “He left nothing out; it’s no holds barred.”

In spite of the dark realities presented in “Loot,” though, the people involved seem to have fun getting ready for opening night.

“We’re like kids playing on a playground,” Smith said. “The play is so outrageous, we have to stop rehearsal because we’re laughing, and we can’t stop.”

Acting major Anne Hobson said she has been putting about 18 hours of work per week into preparing for her role as Meadows. Although Hobson said she has a small role, she has had to research, memorize lines and rehearse. In addition to the six classes Hobson is taking, it’s enough to keep her pretty busy.

Challenges also arise when a director considers his or her vision of a play, and whether that requires adaptations. Orton wrote Hobson’s character as a man’s role. Hobson and Hardy were unsure whether she should portray the role as a man, or as a woman. Ultimately, they decided that if Orton were alive today, he would have just as likely written the role for a woman.

Theater major Stanley Strouss has faced some obstacles as well. Strouss, who portrays the character Hal, said that as a senior and a theater major things have been especially hectic for him.

“Any theater major must make sacrifices,” Strouss said. “I’m involved in a lot on campus, so there is definitely a social sacrifice, but this is what I love doing. It’ll pay off.”

The cast of the play weren’t the only ones who made a sacrifice. According to Strouss, many people get overlooked by the average theater attendee.

“There’s a crew that built the set, and a crew who paints the set. There are costume designers,” Spenser Smith said. “People who aren’t involved only notice the actors saying the lines, but there are a lot of people behind the scenes.”

Everyone working on the play, whether in the foreground or the background, work toward the same goal, though ­— to entertain the audience.

“If they walk out having enjoyed their experiences, we’ve done our job,” Strouss said.

Story by Roxanna Blevins