Posted by: Date: January 18, 2008 In:

APO, Vpstart Crow support student directors

The recent influx of students into PLU’s theater program has caused some growing pains. The department only produces a limited number of shows each year. With more students in the program, there are fewer opportunities for everyone to act, design and build sets, create costumes and get their shot at directing, explained senior theater student Julie Wolfson.

“The problem comes in that there are more graduating seniors who need opportunities for capstone projects,” she added.

This J-Term, however, two productions are in the works that provide four students the opportunity to direct and dozens more the chance to participate in other aspects of the theater. PLU’s chapter of Alpha Psi Omega (APO) is funding one show, while the other is being supported by the new club, Vpstart Crow (pronounced Upstart Crow).

For more than a decade, APO, the national theater honor society, has funded at least one student-produced main stage show each year, like December’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.” In J-Term, APO is also supporting “Trapped: A Festival of One-Act Plays” directed by Sara Hoagland, Steven Davis and Travis Tingvall.

Hoagland is directing the comedy “Snowed In,” Davis the drama “Trifles” and Tingvall the comedic drama “The Zoo Story.” The shows include 14 cast members and will run Jan. 24 through 27 in Eastvold Auditorium.

“I’m extremely grateful that I have been given the opportunity to direct and work with the cast and crew of my show,” Hoagland said.

Meanwhile, Vpstart Crow is new this year. Wolfson and Morris founded the club this fall using the proceeds from their fall production, “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe.” The two funded that show from their own pocket.

“Our hope is that Vpstart Crow productions will supplement the traditional theater season with smaller, avant-garde productions,” Wolfson said.

The club provides financial support, technical aid and peer assistance in budgeting and planning, allowing theater students to grow in their craft. It got a boost this December when it was named as one of the first recipients of the Carol Sheffels Quigg Award for Excellence and Innovation. The award was accompanied by a grant.

Wolfson’s capstone project, a trio of plays by Will Eno, will be the first show paid for by Vpstart Crow. The three pieces – “Thom Pain (based on nothing),” “Lady Grey (in ever-lowering light)” and “Mr. Theatre Comes Home Different” – are each solo performances, where the character share their life experiences and interact with the audience.

“I searched forever to find just he perfect play to direct for my capstone,” Wolfson said. “I chose Will Eno’s work because it’s challenging for the actors and for the director.”

Performances are Jan. 30 and 31 and Feb. 1 and 2 at 8 p.m. in Eastvold. “Trapped: A Festival of One-Act Plays” will begin at 8 p.m. on Jan. 24, 25 and 26, and at 2 p.m. on Jan. 27.

The Jan. 24 and Jan. 30 performances are student preview shows with discounted tickets for $2. Admission to the remaining performances is $5 for PLU students and faculty, and $8 for general admission. Tickets will be sold at the door.

For more information, call ext. 7411.

University Communications staff writer Megan Haley compiled this report. Comments, questions, ideas? Please contact her at ext. 8691 or at Photo by University Photographer Jordan Hartman.