Student Thespians, Directors Have New Options

Dominic Augustine, Reporter

The English department is considering a new theater minor while several courses welcome student thespians, production workers and everyone who wants to give the stage a try.

English faculty are considering a revision of the curriculum to attract students interested in drama and performance and those who would benefit from technical and performance skills.

“The purpose of the revision is to make the theater minor consistent with the English curriculum, which was revised about four years ago,” said Dr. Patrick Hamilton, Associate Professor and Chair of the English Department.

The theater minor would offer classes related to English literature such as Shakespeare and include options for education in the technical or performance aspects such as production and directing.

Several such courses are on the schedule.

Hamilton said the “The Introduction to Directing” course gives students a chance to direct their own one-act plays.

Theater Director Jeff Kelly said students can cast auditions for actors, hold rehearsals and put on a final performance.

Students may also take the “Theater Production” course, which is a lab-based one-credit technical theater course that allows students to work hands on with events, doing everything from setup to break down.

“The course is designed to be able to be taken multiple times, and allows for students to study a specific area such as sound, lighting, front of house more in depth,” said Kelly.

Kelly said that he encourages anyone to take a course. “I say give it a try,” said Kelly. “Minors give students to opportunity to still practice in an area they find interesting and enjoy without having to commit to the heavy course load of a major.”

Zoe LaPorte, sophomore English and communications major, took Kelly’s directing class and said everyone should try it.

“This isn’t like your normal everyday classes where you are taking notes, looking at PowerPoints, taking standardized tests and stuff like that,” said LaPorte.

“Theatre related classes, intro to directing specifically, gives students the exposure to different aspects of the theater like technical stuff, acting on stage, and directing a play,” she said.

She said everyone should try a course, even as an elective.

“I never thought I’d do anything with theater since I wanted to focus on my studies, but through some of my English classes I just stumbled upon one of Jeff’s classes and I was just like, ’Wow I should take this.’”

Samantha Midkiff, sophomore communications major, took theater courses because she loves the work.

“You always meet some great people in the theater no matter what theater you go to,” said Midkiff.

“Doing “Godspell” was great for someone like me who really isn’t that religious. It was still a great experience being able to communicate with these people and get the message out of working together and it’s just having a fun time,” she said.