|FreeStage Festival kicks off with theatre, improv performances|
|Written by Tim Crisp, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Sunday, 19 April 2009 18:00|
Throughout the week, ISU will host the FreeStage Festival, a theatre festival aimed at promoting artistic growth for student-actors and directors.
The festival is the culmination of a semester of work from both the FreeStage committee and participating students.
The FreeStage committee is a student organization that works to help encourage and harness students' artistic creativity and helps to push them toward gaining new experiences within theatre.
"[FreeStage] is geared toward giving students opportunities in theatre, either with experimental theatre or with doing things they normally wouldn't do on a regular basis," FreeStage committee President Michelle Jacobson, senior theatre major, said.
"The committee meets to make decisions about how to fundraise and pick what shows are going to go into the festival," Amy Muszynski, senior acting and French major and committee vice president, said.
"Students propose shows that they are interested in directing," Muszynski added. "The committee looks at what would work best for FreeStage in what the student needs and what they're asking and why they feel the play would be good for FreeStage."
When the committee approves the shows, everything is done to help provide for the director's attempts to fulfill his or her vision.
"We try to do more of a production team," Jacobson said. "We support directors and back up the shows rather than doing all the work.
"We encourage a lot of original scripts," Jacobson said. "There aren't a lot of opportunities for someone to write something new and put it out there in an atmosphere where they're going to be accepted and people will have an open mind.
"It's a place where people can play around with the sort of script they want to write and produce where they won't get that opportunity when they get out of college necessarily," she added.
The festival itself will feature a wide variety of performances, from comedies and dramas to a light show. No matter what the taste, the FreeStage Festival has something to offer any audience member.
Annie Rix, senior acting major, will be directing a production of "The Devil and Billy Markham" by Shel Silverstein.
I'm extremely excited for this Freestage production," Rix, who also adapted the play's script, said. "The original script from Shel Silverstein is a series of five poems. I adapted the first three into a multi-character dialogue."
"The FreeStage Festival is a great opportunity for experienced and aspiring young directors to direct a show using fellow students with the support of a committee and some faculty," she added.
"It also gives student actors yet another acting opportunity. This festival is extremely important to the students."
"The Devil and Billy Markham" will hit the stage at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.
Along with the student productions, the FreeStage Festival will feature performances from established troupes like the Guerilla Theatre and Improv Mafia. The Improv Mafia will be performing an hour-long improvised musical.
The FreeStage Festival is always a special one for the Improv Mafia, according to member Chris Bogue, a senior public relations major.
"We have been doing a different show each semester for the Freestage Festival," Bogue said. "Last semester we did three fully improvised plays.
"We knew we were going to finish out the year with the improvised musical," he added.
For members of the Mafia, the FreeStage Festival provides a great opportunity to try something new and have some fun, Keith Habersberger, senior theatre major, said.
"The FreeStage shows are a treat to both us and our audiences," Habersberger said. "Our weekly shows are a blast, but our FreeStages are what push us to experiment and get us to be such a well-rounded group."
The Improv Mafia's improvised musical will take place Thursday at 6 p.m.
No matter the show, the FreeStage Festival is sure to offer a stimulating experience for the participants and audience members alike.
"I'm really excited for this show," Jacobson said. "We have some really great pieces that I think are going to challenge directors and challenge actors and challenge the audience, which is something exciting."
All FreeStage Festival shows will take place in Centennial West 202 with free admission. The University calendar can be accessed for more information on the dates and starting times.