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Weidner Center stages ATTF student theatre playwrights

Betsy Shafer, Entertainment Writer
December 4, 2012
Filed under Entertainment

The initial incident, the first most important event in a play from which the rest of the play develops. Playwrights understand the fundamental elements of theatre in order to create an interesting production for audiences.

“The main purpose of this performance is to give student playwrights a chance to hear their works read out loud and to hear the audience’s initial reactions to their works,” said Chad Bishop, co-president of Alternate Theatre.

The Weidner Center for the Performing Arts welcomed UW-Green Bay’s Alternate Theatre Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 in a staged reading known as Alternate Theatre Theatre Festival, which consists of seven different plays and scenes written by UW-Green Bay students.

“Alternate Theatre has been an active organization for the past 15 years,” Bishop said. “It has always worked closely with the theatre department to provide students with an alternative outlet for their passions and interests in theater. We are always looking for new members and new ideas that will make things like ATTF more interesting and available to the campus community. This was our first year on the Weidner stage, and we are happy and excited to see where this takes us.”

The performance was directed by Taylor Hoeft, junior theatre performance major. The ATTF performance consisted of a 17-student cast, from freshmen to seniors.

“Taking on the role of the director has been very challenging,” Hoeft said. “The most important thing for me as a director was keeping the integrity of the playwrights’ intentions alive. Having the entire theatre department involved in the project was a great experience.”

The pieces are a mix of all genres, ranging from comedy to romance to tragedy.

“We have seven very different plays, yet each one deals with how we relate to others,” said Laura Schmidt, junior English major and ATTF member. “Our playwrights cover many different types and stages of relationships, from how we form friendships to how we sustain romantic relationships to how we cope with loss. Each piece creates an entirely new perspective on human interactions.”

Each piece was approved by the Alternate Theatre’s leadership board.

“We wanted to work with a range of different pieces,” Schmidt said. “Our main goal was to show plays that would generate a lot of discussion and really entertain an audience.”

Some ATTF plays included “Without a Reason We Shall Follow” by Jason Kumpula, “The King of Hearts” by Derek Knabenbauer, “Race Against Time…IN SPACE!!!” by Joey Hart, “Off Newspapers and Glass Bottles” by Dana Mehlhorn and “H2 OH NO” by director Hoeft.

“Race Against Time…IN SPACE!!!’ is possibly the most masterful masterpiece I’ve written to date,” said Joey Hart, senior theatre technology major. “It follows the main character on a wild and crazy 14 minute chase across time and space to save his wife.”

Drew Arnold, junior technical theatre design major, is the lighting and sound director for the ATTF. Arnold used his skills to show emotion throughout the performance.

“From seeing the emotions change just by the lighting complementing the music, I get to impact the emotions that the play is trying to have the audience feel,” Arnold said. “It’s amazing the impact lights can have on people.”

In the future, ATTF hopes to continue to expand its organization.

“I would really like to see more students from outside the department auditioning and writing plays,” Arnold said. “This would help our dream of ATTF expand to a whole weekend of full-length shows, giving everyone a chance to participate.”

This is the first performance of ATTF as a part of the Alternate Theatre. The department continues to grow by quantity and quality.

“I think that ATTF is something of which the entirety of the UWGB Theatre Department can be very proud,” said Hoeft.

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