Theatre department prepares for semester


Elizabeth Hanson

Left to right: Sophomore Erynne Jamison, freshman Dani Holland and junior Alyssa Glover perform Trojan Women last semester.

Change and excitement. These two words describe the upcoming semester for Baker’s theatre department. From preparing for a major festival to rehearsing new productions, and the addition of a new professor, this year proves to be anything but boring for students involved in all capacities of theatre.

Emily Kasprzak, associate professor of theatre, is the newest addition to the faculty and brings with her experience and knowledge of the field.

Though having worked in theatre departments before, Kasprzak enjoys the more intimate feel of a smaller theatre department and the community feel. She also enjoys helping students grow within the their chosen field.

“I love working with students and helping them figure out what’s good for them and finding their path,” Kasprzak said.

Kasprzak wishes to see the department’s continued growth and see new faces every year. She wants to help bring new recruitment opportunities and help continue the expansion of the theatre department.

Sophomore Barry Baker also echoed these sentiments when discussing the continued growth for the department.

”It’s always nice to see new faces, and everybody is different and it brings a wide variety, “ Baker said.

Also expressed was a desire to broaden horizons for both students and the department.

Baker works both on and off stage for theatre productions and is looking forward to working with lights and sound.

Kasprzak also brings the desire to add more classes to the theatre department for students to gain more knowledge and experience.

While no new classes are on the roster, the theatre department is sponsoring Thursday dance breaks in the lobby of Rice Auditorium. The “breaks” are open to any student wishing to learn combination dance, no matter their skill level.

The theatre department is also preparing for their first production of the year, “James and the Giant Peach” based of the children’s book written by Roald Dahl. The show will be run from Sept. 27-29.

Tom Heiman, associate professor of theatre, will direct and Baker is the stage manager.

Stage managers run the day-to-day operations and assist the director. This will be Baker’s first time as a stage manager.

The second production of the year, “Blood Relations” is a story based off the Lizzie Borden murders. Kasprzak will direct and the show will run from Nov. 8-10.

This year, the theatre department also will presenting a musical. “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” will be held over the interterm.

Students involved will gain credit and real-life experience.

“They will be able to rehearse all day, which what the professionals do,” Kasprzak said.

Some students are thrilled with the opportunity to do musical theatre, especially since musicals only occur once every two years.

“Since I’m a music education major, I’m looking forward to really focus on the musical,” Sophomore Tess Cotter said.

As well as productions, the theatre department is looking ahead toward the regional Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

Each production will be evaluated by a critic, and the department may get the chance to perform the show at the festival.

Last year, the theatre department’s rendition of “Rumours” was choosen for evalutaion at a festival, though it did not make it to the national level.

Each semester brings brand new opportunties to the theatre department, and this semester is proving to be no exception.