The Drake University Theatre Arts Department will present a student showcase of five one-act plays including an adaptation of the popular Neil Patrick Harris musical “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” and an original work by senior Alexander Pontier.
The showcase will be performed tomorrow and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., and it will feature 19 actors and five directors.
Here are some of the shows being performed: “The Chocolate Affair” directed by senior Michelle Altman; “Snow Angel” directed by senior Ben Raanan; “A Gaggle of Saints” directed by junior Tyler Lubinus; “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” directed by junior Danielle Dolezal; and “Covering the Mirror” directed by Pontier.
In past years, student theater productions have been performed several weekends throughout the course of each semester. This is the first year that the department has advertised the STPs as part of the main-stage season and grouped all of them together for a showcase.
Lubinus is glad to be a part of the new process.
“I previously directed one other STP, ‘Life Under Water,’ in the spring semester of 2011,” Lubinus said. “The new method of doing the STPs is still in the works, and I’m glad to be a part of the process of ironing out the details for future showcases.”
Four of the directors are presenting one-acts written by established playwrights, but theatre education and secondary education major Pontier is directing a play he wrote himself.
“I’ve been writing short stories and plays for a while, but this particular show was one of my more personal stories,” Pontier said. “I tried to write it like how I would normally talk and then upgraded it for the stage. I got the idea for the play by watching and reading about twins.”
“Covering the Mirror” is about the death of a twin, and how the surviving twin copes with his brother’s death compared with how family and friends think he should be reacting, Pontier said.
“The main draw for the play came from the last ‘Harry Potter’ book,” Pontier said. “J. K. Rowling killed off one twin from both sets of twins she had in her book. I thought, ‘What gives you the right to kill a twin, you have no idea what the other would go through if that actually happened.’”
Another show being performed is a stage adaptation of Josh Whedon’s 2008 mini-series, “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.”
“I chose to direct ‘Dr. Horrible’ because it is something I have loved for a long time,” Dolezal said. “‘Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog’ is the classic story of good versus evil but with a twist. This will be my first time directing a student theater production, though I have gone to see them many times and always enjoyed them.”
The cast of nine includes senior magazine journalism major James VanEchaute, who has done shows within the theater department during his four years at Drake despite not being a theater major.
“Word cannot express how much I’ve enjoyed being a part of Drake theatre,” VanEchaute said. “From the very first moment I stepped into rehearsal, I was welcomed with open arms and open hearts. Not to be cheesy, but the theatre majors here at Drake have essentially become my family away from home. Even if I fade out of view between shows, I’m always pulled back.”
A comedy with Neil Patrick Harris-esque flair requires its actors not to break character, even in the most hilarious moments.
“‘Dr. Horrible’ has been a blast,” VanEchaute said. “Everyone in the cast channels their own personal sense of humor into each character in a fantastic way. In fact, that’s been one of the challenges. The show’s so funny, it’s hard to stay in character at certain points. And come on, it’s ‘Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,’ what’s not to love?”
Admission to the showcase is free, but tickets are available in the Drake Fine Arts Box Office or by calling (515) 271-3841.
The Chocolate Affair
By: Stephanie Alison Walker
Directed by: Michelle Altman
Beverly: Molly Nelson
Mr. Goodbar: Grant Haase
M&M: Shay Miller
By: John Lewis Carlino
Directed by: Ben Raanan
Connie: Natalie Schmit
John: Forrest Williams
A Gaggle of Saints
By: Neil LaBute
Directed by: Tyler Lubinus
Sue: Carissa Cassil
John: Kenneth Lawson
Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
By: Joss Whedon
Directed by: Danielle Dolezal
Dr. Horrible: Andrew Nyberg
Penny: Haley Sisler
Captain Hammer: James Van Echaute
Moist: Grant Haase
Bad Horse Trio: Josh Osborn, Hunter Quint, James VanEchaute
Hammer Groupies: Hunter Quint, Bridget Roepke, Katie Fries
Covering the Mirror
Written and directed by: Alexander Pontier
A (Mother): Rebecca Rabideaux
B (Sister): Kourtney Richards
C (Brother): Kenneth Lawson
D (Girl Friend): Megan McQueeney
E (Friend): Kristofer Thornton