NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. – As this semester begins and students return from a refreshing month `off of classes, the Niagara University Theatre Department prepares itself for the upcoming spring semester shows. There are four full-length productions and one short play festival being presented this semester, with several performance students embarking on the grueling yet deeply rewarding rehearsal process. The department is hard at work creating meaningful productions to share with the community. The lineup for this semester includes a variety of genres and highlights the talents and artistic achievements of Niagara students.
The Short Play Festival is kicking off the semester with a total of 23 student-produced ten-minute plays. The festival provides junior theatre majors an opportunity to direct a short play of their choosing. Since the actors are not required to be theatre majors, students exploring other fields with little to no experience in acting are encouraged to participate. The festival is a great way to experience people going out of their comfort zone as well as to show support for students studying directing.
Dead Man’s Cell Phone, a play by Sarah Ruhl, is the first show of the semester. This show explores the role of technology in uniting complete strangers. A young woman finds the cellphone of a dead man and begins answering calls off the device, connecting with people from the stranger’s past. Trevor Copp, a physical theatre professor at Niagara, is directing the production. Rather than taking place in the Leary Theatre, the show will run at the Castellani Art Museum Feb. 16-19. The show’s unique location allows the audience to enjoy theatre while simultaneously being surrounded by pieces of stunning visual art.
Students also have the opportunity to see a show that is entirely run by other students. The Niagara University Players is a campus organization that runs through the theatre department and produces one show a year. This year, the chosen play is The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds. This show is student-directed and student-designed. Written by Paul Zindel, it is a tender piece about a girl who copes with an abusive parent through the joys of scientific discovery. Sabrina Kahwaty, a senior theatre major, is directing the production, which will be run at the Leary Theatre Feb. 24-26.