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Drake theatre presents student led shows

by CAMERON BOLTON

The Drake University Theatre department held its Student Theatre Production Showcase from Oct. 25 to Oct. 27. Four shows were performed. 

Messages, written by Kaitlyn Schaefer and directed by Elizabeth Blackwell, is a tale of love and friendship and how messy things can become when combined. 

Goose, written and directed by Maria Gnoza, is also about relationship drama, but this time concerning a soon to be divorced couple. 

Our Amerikan Cousin, written and directed by Luc Pham, is about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln that quickly goes off the rails from would you would have learned about in school. 

First Aid, written and directed by Storm O’Bryant, is about the experiences of a college student struggling with their sexuality and family.

The STP showcase happens every year. Students apply to direct in the spring, and if chosen, direct in the fall. This year, all shows are student-written. According to Schaefer, generally there’s been one or two plays written by students, but this is kind of unheard of.

“I think part of it was that we have a lot of students who want to write and want to be able to tell stories,” said Schaefer, whose play Messages was the first that they had ever written. “I know Maria (who wrote Goose) had written a play for the year before and she actually had through this process discovered that she wanted to be a writing major. But I think it’s just there’s a lot of students that we have at Drake right now that they just want to write and they want to tell stories.” 

Timothy Rose, a local Iowa resident who has been in and around the organization and has formed friendships with several of the students in the theatre department, shared his thoughts on the shows. 

“I had a wonderful time with this one,” Rose said. “I knew that it was going to be a pretty good one just because I knew it was purely a student-written and student-produced show, and it’s always neat to see what their points of view are.” 

The showcase had several serious topics in it that are relevant to modern society, such as sexuality and relationships, which is not something that bothered Rose. According to him, that’s what theatre is supposed to do. It’s supposed to bring a mirror up to various parts of society. Whether it’s parts that we’ve experienced or parts that someone else has experienced. It’s to let people know what other people’s experiences are and to be able to examine are own in that way too. 

“That is the nature of theatre, that is the nature of this entire program, by the time it’s all said and done is to present that type of thing to whoever’s willing actually to be brave enough to see it,” Rose said.

Rose wishes there were more people who would find this and make it a part of their lives and be able to examine their own lives as well as all these wonderful people here and utilize the fact that it’s all here and all for everyone to enjoy and be enlightened by.

According to Schaefer, a concern with the production was that there wasn’t going to be enough people for all the shows. This concern was proved to be justified, as they didn’t end up having enough people; Schaefer recalled they had to rework their entire play to take out two characters.

Besides the STP showcase, there are additional student-led theatre productions at Drake. According to Schaefer, the first shows of the season are generally student-directed. Outside of the department, there are organizations like Drake Theatre People or Drake Shakespeare company, the latter of which was created just last year.

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