The whole place reeks of hair, sweat, socks, and feet. Brains are splattered on chalkboards, individuals are colliding into each other, minds are melding together in a mess on the floor, and in the midst of this raw sewage dump of beauty, creativity, and personality; something truly awe-inspiring and jaw-dropping is born. Four people–two actors, a writer, and a director–from all walks of life are brought together in a single room through the meticulous hands of fate, to open up their hearts to the unfamiliar, and form unbreakable bonds, now closer than ever before. New Play Workshop (NPW) is where people are kept inside in order to open up, where a single day feels like a lifetime.
New Play Workshop took place in McInnis Auditorium, Sept. 19 at 8 p.m. In this year’s New Play Workshop, 14 actors performed seven new plays. The seven plays were created merely feet away from each other, yet they are vastly different. These new plays were crafted delicately and spontaneously by seven groups of four. The two actors bring forth what they would like the play to be focused on, the writer types up the script the actors will work with, and the director gives meaning to the script and vision to the actors. When it is all said and done, the two actors walk on stage and present their beautiful craft for one performance. The process of creating these new plays is not only engaging but enthralling to be a part of.
Getting involved in NPW is simple. Eva Farrell, co-producer of NPW, says that “The best way a student can become involved is by first becoming involved with Eastern University Theater. As [many students] experienced this year the invite came straight from being present at the initial theater meeting. In the past, we usually recruit for our actors through Eastern Theater.” Eva adds says that Eastern alumni can get involved in New Play Workshop as well: “Our directors are usually current students who have been around or are alum. When we have the opportunity we like to recruit our writers from current students present in the many different English and Creative Writing classes, but our alumni also come into play in those roles as well. We like to pull from people that professors know, because the more information we can get on people the better we can place them in a room that they will serve well and be served by the others in the room!”
Eastern students with an interest in theater would do themselves a great disservice to not be apart of such a memorable experience. Anabelle Cacciatore, one of the actors involved this year, remarks, “It was such a new experience for me, meeting new people and being creative.” NPW even helps people learn a wide variety of skills that can easily be applied to their lives. Kit Apostolacus, a senior and writer at NPW, learned something new about herself. “I’d never written a play before….I discovered that I can write a play if I really want to.” Through the experience, students learned fast memorization, how to work in a contained group setting, how to be flexible when certain obstacles arise, and the art of staying up all night.
For those of you who did not have the chance to be a part of or witness NPW, fret not. Eastern’s Theater Department is in the process of getting ready for their next show, Eastern’s original musical, “Rise.” The production will feature many of the same actors seen in this year’s New Play Workshop, including Caitlyn Hinkle, Laura Bilger, Katarina Rorstrom, Kayla Peebles, Randy Way, and Jared Maier. This original production is being directed by our own Professor Jenny Tibbels, Director of Theater at Eastern University. The cast of “Rise” will perform four shows only, starting on Nov. 12 and ending on Nov. 15. For more information on all upcoming Eastern University Theater productions, please visit the Eastern University Theater Productions web page.