Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Semester switch changes theater dept. schedule

Augustana’s switch from a trimester schedule to a semester schedule has led to a lot of mixed emotions throughout campus. One area of Augustana’s campus that has definitely been affected by the switch to semesters is the theatre department.

This semester there are four productions going on at once: “35mm” directed by Senior Cheyenne Powell; “Noises Off” directed by assistant professor, Dr. Jennifer Popple; “Flemming: an American Thriller” directed by Senior Maddie McCobb; and “She Kills Monsters” directed by professor Jeff Coussens.

Because of the new semester schedule, the rehearsal process has been shortened quite a bit. For the cast of “Noises Off,” rehearsal time was shortened by two weeks.

Popple tried to compensate for this change by adding an extra hour to each rehearsal session.

Because of the very active nature of the show, the more rapid rehearsal pace and the fact every person in cast was called for each rehearsal, actors were a lot more tired than normal.

Director of “35mm,” Powell, said she had less than 4 weeks to rehearse her show compared to the 6 weeks the Black Box musical got last year. Powell said this led to some frustration.

“[With Trimesters] all of the directors had more time to work with the actors and allow the technical elements to be designed and finished,” Powell said.

In addition to this, the shows were also cut from two weekends of performance to one.

“It is probably something we are going to revisit,” Popple said. “It was always nice to let the plays grow between that first and second weekend. Although we’ll still have good audiences over the first weekend, it was nice for the actors and everyone to be able to let the show go through the process of growth between the first and second weekends.”

Rehearsal space is another aspect that has been changed because of semesters.

Not only is a director responsible for scheduling rehearsals for their own shows, they also have to coordinate with the other directors to let everyone have access to the space.

Both Popple and Powell had priority of the rehearsal spaces because their shows were first in the term. Powell worked around her schedule to ensure that “Flemming” had some time to rehearse as well.

Popple mentioned that there is a break in between the end of “Noises Off” and the opening of “She Kills Monsters” so that Coussens and his cast get a period of time with the space.

It is a team effort, and everyone works together to make accommodations so everything runs as smoothly as possible.

Another part of the theatre process that was partially affected by limited time (not just due to semesters in general) was the technical building process.

The set for “Noises Off,” which is essentially a two story house, is the biggest set that will be made all year. In the first week or two of class there was the ballet that put a small hold on the building, and then it took a bit to assemble the student workforce that would be building the sets.

Despite that hiccup, the sets were still able to be built, and they turned out quite well.

Even though the switch to semesters has been rather hectic for the theatre department, both Popple and Powell are very optimistic that semesters will be a positive change in the long run. This year may act as a trial-run for every department on campus, but will help lead everyone to figure out what works best for them

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Semester switch changes theater dept. schedule