Written by: Hillary Straba
One month, two plays, $400.
That’s the challenge faced by students participating in the Immediate Theatre Project (ITP).
The ITP is sponsored by Alpha Psi Omega, a national honorary dramatic fraternity, and is completely student-run.
“We take student-written works−10-minute plays or so−and we produce them ourselves, direct them ourselves, cast them ourselves and we put them on for the public,” said Dennis May, senior theatre arts major and ITP artistic director.
Part of what makes this project different from other student-run theater projects is its timeframe. Students are given one month to prepare two plays for performance. The students are also given a budget of $400 to split among the plays.
“We do everything,” May said. “We have the actors and the directors. That’s it. That’s all we have.”
What makes this theater project so immediate?
“Immediate theater is basically what’s relevant, what’s happening today,” May said. “I encourage the writers to write something of relevance to society or something that means something (to them)−make it immediate.”
This semester, there are two plays being produced: “Waiting for…,” written by Michael Morgan, and “Time,” written by Dennis May.
“Waiting for…” is directed by Emily Bradford, a theatre arts major. It is a short, seven-minute play featuring two men who are sitting on a bench waiting for the bus.
“Time” is being directed by May. It is one act from a larger piece that he has been working on since December. This is the first time May has directed a play he has written.
“The piece I wrote is a lot about acceptance of individuals no matter what they believe or who they are as a person,” May said. “The main character is actually gay and no one in his family knows about it.”
Given the short timeframe, ITP productions are done in a very “immediate, bare-boned, minimum” style that utilizes what is already in the Lab Theatre.
The one-month countdown begins once auditions have been held. Casting for both plays was completed last week, which means the clock is ticking.
The plays will be performed April 11 at 7:30 p.m. and April 12 at 2:30 p.m. in the Lab Theatre on the second floor of the VSU Fine Arts Building. Admission is free and open to the public, but donations are always accepted.
“Our mission is basically to take other people’s talents and sort of showcase them,” May said. “It’s also good to be able to help someone figure out what their talents actually are−more than acting, more than doing tech work.”