The lights go up. A timer goes off. Someone laughs. A dark, obscured figure walks behind the stage. A voice speaks from above, and the audience looks up, searching for a speaker in the dim lighting. There’s a collective silence as everyone holds their breath, waiting for the verdict. The lights go down. The crowd claps.
Senior theatre majors presented the production component of their theses on May 1 through May 9 in the Barrett Theatre, showcasing plays and musicals they had been creating, studying and developing throughout the past semester.. Three students wrote their own plays, including Noelani Stevenson’s mini adaptation of The Iliad, two students devised musicals, four performed in their productions, and all of them led the creative process and helped their cast and crew work toward their vision.
The productions each lasted about 30 minutes and covered a range of subjects. Jake Bolster and Adrian Summers, for example, directed and acted in “Fish Kill on Maria Sanchez” by Doug Grissom, which addresses racial tensions in the mid-1900s South, and Stephanie Kall directed “I Dream Before I Take the Stand” by Arlene Hutton, which covers a cross-examination in a sexual assault case. The shows evoked sorrow at some points and amusement at others, though each piece ultimately demonstrated the thought and passion that went into production.
Cast and crew for the shows comprised students from all classes and featured theatre majors and non-majors alike. The students that helped make the senior majors’ ideas a reality did so out of their own enthusiasm for theatre and a commitment to helping bring their friends’ final Hamilton production to fruition. Likewise, the eight days dedicated to finalizing and presenting the shows, dubbed “Thesischella” by students, served as a conclusion to four years of studying theatre and an informal goodbye to the majors’ Hamilton theatre careers.
The senior theatre majors include Andres “Fluffy” Aguilar, Emily Aviles, Jake Bolster, Stephanie Kall, Andy Letai, Jack Martin, Bella Nichol, Noelani Stevenson, Adrian Summers, and Taylor Wallace. The work they did putting their shows together has been printed and bound and will serve as both a token of their time at Hamilton and an example of what future theatre majors can accomplish.