By Alexandra Schireman

We can’t picture being anything but show people
Civilians find the whole thing quite bizarre
But that hop in our hearts
When the overture starts
Helps us know how lucky we are!

If the lyric of this tune from the Tony award-winning musical Curtains resonates with you, you might be interested in Oregon State’s theatre department.

The theatre department offers several interesting courses.  Even if you’re no stranger to the stage, you can still benefit from TA 147, Intro to Theatre. This department pre-requisite teaches students about specific theatrical genres, the various roles of theatre artists (e.g. actors, directors, designers,) and the evolution of theatre over history.  Once this course is completed you can register for a variety of stimulating theatre courses, including set design, stage make-up, stage lighting, costuming, play-direction, play writing, theatre history, and acting.  The theatre department also offers a class called Oral Interpretation (TA 121), which is a great way to boost your public speaking skills and knowledge of literature.

You don’t have to be a theatre major to participate in any of these classes.  But even if you can’t fit any of them into your schedule, come audition for some plays!  Again, everyone is welcome, not just theatre majors.  In fact, you don’t even have to be an OSU student to be involved with productions.  One of the coolest aspects of OSU’s theatre department is that anyone in the Corvallis community can audition; students have the opportunity to work with and learn from talented members of the community they might not meet otherwise and the quality of productions are enhanced by the diversity created by the open audition policy.

Oregon State’s theatre department produces a wide variety of shows each year.  During my short time at OSU, I have seen, or been involved with, many productions, including The Coming of Rain (a dramatization of a novel set in Reconstruction Era Tennessee); Glengarry Glen Ross (a dark, gritty play about a cut-throat business world); The Fainting Beaver Follies (a joyful recreation of 1930s vaudeville show); I See God, I See Allah (a thought-provoking play about the true nature of the Muslim religion and the preconceptions surrounding it); and Almost Maine (a heartwarming  collection of interconnected love stories).   Last weekend, The Feeblemindedness of Woman (a play within a play about the life of Gerty Cori, the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize in science) was produced at Withycombe’s Lab theatre and The Sugar Wife (A gripping historical drama set in 1840s Ireland) will be produced a few weeks later on Withycombe’s main stage.  And Mozart’s celebrated opera The Magic Flute will be performed during spring term (I hear this production is going to have a Steam Punk flair!).

Speaking of next term, a great opportunity for aspiring theatre artists will soon appear; auditions for OSU’s one act play festival.  This May, student directors will be producing several one-act plays and these shows provide lots of opportunities for designers, actors, technicians, and stagehands.  Or, if you’re an aspiring playwright, you may want to wait for next year’s one-act play festival which will feature student-written plays (this particular event occurs every other year).

And if you’re going to be around next summer and enjoy Shakespeare, you’ll love OSU’s annual Bard-in-the-Quad production.  Every summer term, OSU produces an outdoor Shakespeare production.  Last year, the show was As You Like It (set in a 1960s hippie commune, complete with psychedelic colors and groovy music) and the year before that, Macbeth (an erotic and particularly dark re-envisioning of this famous tragedy set 1920s New Orleans).  This year its going to be The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare’s outrageous battle of the sexes set in the wild west (ye-haw!).

So whether you already consider yourself a “show person,” think you might possibly be a show person, or just enjoy watching the antics of show people, please check out Oregon State’s theatre department.  We’re a fun bunch and we love new talent and appreciative audiences!


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