Freshmen make their theatrical debut in First Year Showcase

Alexander McCall

Freshmen kick off the performance season and make their debut performances in the Department of Theatre and Dance this weekend with the annual First Year Showcase in the I.G. Greer Studio Theatre.

The performances, co-directed by faculty members Teresa Lee and Sherone Price working together with students, feature originally choreographed dance pieces and a devised play version of “Alice in Wonderland.”

The play, which features little scenery and props, was a group effort in terms of becoming a complete piece – an idea that others in the department first saw as ambitious to attempt with inexperienced actors.

“Teresa came in with a concept, and collaboratively the two of us and the cast took those ideas and ran with it and it became what it is,” said Katie Campbell, senior theater education major and assistant director of the piece. “We just sort of threw them into it, they had no idea what they were getting into. I think if we had told them they probably wouldn’t have come.”

Campbell first started in theater at Appalachian State University through the First Year Showcase in 2010 and is still close friends with many of those fellow actors. This is her first time officially directing at Appalachian.

“It wasn’t what I expected coming in. but it’s interesting and I really appreciate all the work they put into making it what it is,” she said.

Despite how different or intimidating this production might seem, freshman theater education major and ensemble member Cody Watkins still sees the experience as an overwhelmingly positive first college production.

“It’s a very different level of dedication than high school – you’ve got to give it your all all the time because if you get kicked out there’s someone waiting to take your spot,” Watkins said. “It’s more fast-paced, but it’s more fun because people actually care.”

Freshman Sarah Bruce is one of the featured student choreographers, and while she has been involved with music and dance since childhood, this showcase has presented her with her first opportunity to direct a group of fellow students.

Her piece, which explores the evolution of consciousness, was chosen as one of the few freshman-orchestrated pieces. This is the first year that the showcase presents work created by freshmen.

“My piece is about emotion and getting the meaning across – it’s not solely about technique, and I think that’s how it is with the rest of the pieces, too,” Bruce said. “They’re not all about doing turns and stuff like that, they’re trying to get a message across.”

The show is expected to sell out between family members and theater students who want to see what the freshmen have to offer, Campbell said.

“It’s very strange, but it’s very interesting,” Watkins said. “If you’re any kind of artsy person at all it will blow your mind.”

First Year Showcase takes place Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the I.G. Greer Studio Theatre. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for adults.

STORY: LOVEY COOPER, Senior A&E Reporter