It’s another week at App, and another freshman arrived on a campus home to over 18,000 students, and yet when they walk onto the stage for the First Year Showcase, the world is in the palm of their hand.
“Theater helps me accept who I am and take on a role to bring joy to other people,” Natalie Jones, a freshman music education major, said.
The First Year Showcase, presented by the Department of Theatre and Dance, gives students the opportunity to produce their own show for an audience of faculty, friends and family. The I.G. Greer Studio Theatre will hold five theatrical sketches and creative dance performances this year from Sept. 26 to Sept. 30.
Trimella Chaney, an adjunct theatre arts professor, has worked on the First Year Showcase for most of her 10 years at the university. Chaney said she enjoyed meeting new students and directing their first college performance. The show has gained popularity through its opportunities for friends, family and faculty of the students involved to see them perform, Chaney said.
The showcase is open to any freshmen interested in studying in the Department of Theatre and Dance, which has 73 intended majors and minors this year, the most they’ve had.
The showcase has transitioned from performing Tony Award-winning plays and musicals to devised theater, which gives students the opportunity to write personal sketches. Dances are choreographed by dance faculty members and graduate students, Chaney said.
“The theatre ensemble deals with sketches named ‘Time’s Up’, ‘Out of Time,’ ‘The Wrong Time,’ and ‘The One-Minute Time Machine,” Chaney said.
Jones, who will act in the showcase, has gained confidence through the process of creating and preparing for the shows.
“A lot of theater people are really accepting,” Jones said. “You can be as weird as you possibly can and people will still like you there. You can be yourself and still get accepted.”
Jones said her interest in theater grew during high school, but this showcase has gleaned more passion for theater because of the professionalism of the cast and crew working on the showcase.
“Everyone here understands it’s not small parts, it’s small actors,” Jones said. “We’re all like a big team and it’s all part of the fun.”
Being passionate about theater does not guarantee a spot in the business, however, the destination is worth the difficult journey for some, Jones said.
Ethan Brown, a freshman psychology major, said he rediscovered his passion for theater through the showcase. After closing the door on acting in high school, the stage has been an escape from reality and a fun experience, Brown said.
While Brown was in the writing process for the showcase, the concept of time lent Brown the opportunity to reflect and write the way he wanted.
“We all have this valuable thing called time and every second counts,” Brown said.
The power of song, and in particular Christian music, was influential to Brown during his writing process. The lyrics “opened my eyes to the world we live in, which is full of violence, perversion and anger,” Brown said.
The showcase has shown that he is able to shine a light on the issues in the world through his playwriting.
“The ability to one day tackle the issues that so many people ignore is the greatest inspiration there is,” Brown said.
The event will coincide with Homecoming week, and offer 7 p.m. performances Wednesday through Saturday, as well as a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets will be $7 for students and $12 for adults.
Tickets are available in person at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts box office Monday through Friday 9 a.m.–5 p.m. by phone at 800-841-ARTS (2787), or 828-262-4046 and theatreanddance.appstate.edu, according to the Department of Theatre and Dance.
Story by: Alexander Hubbell, A&E Reporter
Photo by: Ethan Brown, Staff Photographer
Feature photo courtesy of the Department of Theatre and Dance
Featured photo caption: 73 students will be performing for the Department of Theatre and Dance’s First Year Showcase, a record number. The showcase will coincide with Homecoming week this year and tickets can be purchased at the Schaefer CenterPerforming Arts either at the ticket office or online.