Several acting seniors are working in groups to create devised theater projects from the ground up.
The project began in Stephen Wrentmore’s special topics class, where students learned about different types of theater and how to make their own. For their final presentations, each of the four groups will perform their devised piece before the end of the semester.
Devised theater refers the form of art that does not have a writer. Instead, the theater is created through collaborative work, usually involving improvisation.
“The point of my class was to talk about how theatre is made and how it wears many hats,” Wrentmore said. “I wanted them to explore non-conventional text and find stories they think are important.”
For the project, each group was given a blank piece of paper. From there, students developed a play, as well as a plan for marketing and other logistics.
“They basically set up four new theatre companies to produce new plays in any way they want to,” Wrentmore said. “Each piece addresses a social issue, and the main themes are identity, gender, home, and love.”
The first performance, No Mirrors: Devised Theatre Project, will be April 27 at noon on the quad. It will last 20 minutes.
Paper will be April 29 at 5 p.m. in Studio C and D in the Gold Star Memorial Building. The show is an interactive postmodern performance about a college graduate moving to New York City to pursue a career in business. “Samuel Reese,” the main character eventually has to choose between morals and money.
A House is Not a Home will be May 1 at 8 p.m. in the Admin Tower. The piece celebrates individuality and supports the LGBT community. The show has its own Instagram account called “ahina.”
The last performance, nofilter: A New Play, will be May 4 at 6 p.m. in Medium Rehearsal Hall in the Wanda L. Bass School of Music. It explores age, race, and gender struggles, and the creators request that attendees bring their phones. The show’s Instagram account is “nofilterocu.”
” The length of each show is up to them, but because of time constraints, I said it would be a folly to plan more than 15-20 minutes,” Wrentmore said. “Everything about the delivery of the shows are engineered by students, and they have no money to spend. If students graduate and I don’t have a job right away, they have to use their own tenacity, rather than someone else’s resources, to create a job for themselves.”
One senior says the class will benefit him as he leaves OCU.
“This project provides a perspective on the American Dream that is extremely relevant,” said Brett Holleman, acting senior. “We can always create art, so it’s relevant to both undergraduate students and those of us who are graduating.”
Attendance to the performances are free, just like production costs.
“In my experience, I’ve worked with multi-million dollar budgets and no budgets, but it’s never enough,” Wrentmore said. “Money is not the solution. The size of the project always expands with more money, and ambitions grow always faster than your ability to pay for it. It’s about being creative and different.”
Each performance has a Facebook event, and anyone is welcome to attend.