Training Theatre Artists to Make a Difference
By: Kelsey Murphy (Undergraduate, ’15)
The Freshman Showcase (or “Frocase”) has been a tradition for years in the Drama Department. The juniors, as part of “Theatre Production”, produce and direct a show that stars the freshman class. Frocase is most importantly an opportunity to show off the freshmen to the department. This year, in light of our incredibly talented freshman, our junior class wanted to do something a bit different that would revolutionize the way freshman showcase would be done in years to come. Gobos.
I’m just kidding (though our gobos were pretty awesome). Instead, we opened Frocase not just to freshman drama majors and minors but to exploratory majors who were interested in joining the department. We incorporated live music, provided by freshmen Maddy Belknap and Rachel Moore. Freshman Sophie Millette wrote an original scene, “When Sisters Come Knocking”, that was read by the whole cast at the end of the show. For a majority of the juniors, it was our first time ever putting up our own show and the process was challenging at times. You never truly know how much work goes into a show until you are in charge of all its aspects: directing, set design, lighting design, costume design, marketing, casting, etc. While the task seemed daunting at first, all of us worked hard to make this the best show we could. We spent time in class discussing the order of the show, learning how to work lights and sound, setting up the performance space. Outside of class. we spent time rehearsing with our freshman. We split up the tasks; some of us were scene, monologue, or musical directors and others were stage managers and designers.
When we began in September, we decided on a concept that would involve “New Beginnings”. Our major set piece was a door onstage that was utilized in all the entrances and exits. While sometimes concepts can get lost, especially with such a spread out rehearsal process as we had, it all came together during our technical rehearsal. I can’t remember feeling more proud of a show I was involved in than I was with this one. Everyone had worked so hard to make something truly great, something that would really show just how talented our freshmen were (and trust me, they’re talented). The live music made the scene changes enjoyable to watch, the scenes flowed together well, and the whole production was incredibly charming. The monologues were inspiring, their direction was impeccable. One could even argue they were life-changing. (Can you guess what part of the show I directed?) Overall, the whole experience was amazing. It gave me a newfound appreciation for all elements of a production, elements I had previously taken for granted. It was also an amazing bonding experience for my class. We work together very well and I think our Frocase showed that. I also loved getting to know the freshman class and showing off their talents. They’re an incredible group of girls. I’m so excited for their future in this department.
Well, as they say in show business, if you can’t find a way to end a blog post about a production you created just stop writing. So.