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Drake Theatre to showcase four student productions

The Drake University Department of Theatre Arts will present a Student Theatre Production Showcase (STPs) featuring four student-produced short plays in one performance, beginning Friday, Oct. 27 in the William S.E. Coleman Studio Theatre of the Harmon Fine Arts Center. Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27 and Saturday, Oct. 28, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29.

Admission is $9 for adults and $7 for senior citizens, and $4 with a Drake ID. Tickets are available online, in person, or via telephone at the Fine Arts Box Office, 2525 Carpenter Ave., 515-271-3841.

4.48 Psychosis by Sarah Cane is directed by junior BFA directing major Emily Brown. Widely considered to be Sarah Kane’s semi-autographical suicide note, 4.48 Psychosis follows a woman as she is at war with her own inner psychosis. Throughout the show, she wrestles with the choice of whether or not she will take her own life.

Last year, Brown co-directed an STP but this year she is directing her first solo-production at Drake.

“I think this year is definitely different, having it be just a solo thing,” Brown said. “It’s a different dynamic of not simultaneously having someone else you are bouncing off opinions off of; you don’t have them as a safety net at all. Which is really cool. It’s also a lot more devised than it was last year. More adapted. We got to figure out who says what and when and we really made it a production that is completely unique to how we are doing it.”

Charlie the Ant God is written and directed by senior BFA acting major Jake Leiberton. Leiberton also wrote Color x Color which was featured in last year’s STP showcase.

Seven years after the birth of Joseph Charles Jones III, on the same hot July day, only hotter, Charlie crouched where grass met pavement, above a miniscule, red worker ant hauling a palm leaf on its back. Charlie removed the leaf and held a massive magnifying glass above the powerless ant’s head, as the Devil, holding his pitchfork over the heads of the damned. The hot sunlight beamed through the glass with the heavens’ force, causing the ant’s skin to sizzle and burn. As the ant withered and died under the hot flames of Charlie’s wrath, Charlie was God; and as The Joneses prayed for forgiveness, they were the ants.

The American Family is a short play written and directed by junior BFA directing major, Kalle Sorbo. The play contrasts the traditional idea of the American dream and the reality of the struggles that families deal with.

Sorbo says this process has been different than his previous experiences since he is both writing and directing this show.

“It’s so scary,” Sorbo said. “Because the onus is all on me. When you direct something else you can always deflect something by saying, “Oh, the writing wasn’t very good.” This is 100 percent on me. So much of who I am is in this show. I’m excited, but also really scared for people to come see this show.”

Santa Clause: A Morality by E.E. Cummings is directed by first-time director Paul Grewe, a senior BFA acting major. The play tells a story about Death and Santa Claus. Death convinces Santa to sell knowledge without understanding, though Santa does not understand the implications of this decision. As Santa struggles with his newly found position, he realizes the seedy undercurrent of their world.

“This [directing] process has been a giant learning and experimenting experience,” Grewe said. “I’m excited for everyone to see this show and understand its meaning. Much of what I’ve been working on with the cast is the meaning behind the piece and what Cummings intended with this work. Conveying that on stage is exciting for me because I’ve watched the cast have those ‘Ah-ha’ moments time and time again and it’s the audiences turn to share in that journey.”