Thursday, January 22, 2015

Student Theatre Groups at Rose Hill

I'm more comfortable on stage than I am in most social situations. But going into senior year of high school, I knew I didn't want to be in an undergraduate acting program. Instead, I chose to attend Fordham College at Rose Hill, even though I knew the school's official theatre program (with its highly selective, audition-based admissions process) was housed at Lincoln Center. At the same time, I knew I absolutely wanted to continue performing in shows. As I prepared to attend Fordham in the fall of 2012, I prayed that I wouldn't be let down by the quality of Rose Hill's theatre community.

Thankfully, our campus is brimming with great theatrical opportunities, especially for a campus of its size. Maybe it's because we're so close to New York City, but for a campus that doesn't host Fordham's performing arts departments, Rose Hill has an abundance of talented and creative students whodespite majoring in unrelated fieldspursue their artistic passions through the student groups on campus, or at professional venues in Manhattan. We even have students from Lincoln Center who come over regularly to audition for our shows.

For those of you who want to continue acting, but don't want to major in it, rest assured that you can do just that here at Fordham Rose Hill. To help you out, here's the run-down on Rose Hill's three student theatre groups!

The Mimes and Mummers

The Mimes are Fordham's mainstage student theatre group based in Collins Auditorium in Collins Hall. They put on two shows each semester, usually one play and one musical each semester. The students on the Mimes' executive board hire professionals from the NYC area to direct each production. Students manage all technical aspects of the production (lights, costumes, props, set), and cast members are required to complete a certain amount of "tech hours" as well.

So far I've been in four shows with the Mimes: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The 39 Steps, Legally Blonde, and currently RENT. It's been one of my favorite parts of my Fordham career to work with such talented people and act under the direction of professional freelance directors. My director for The 39 Steps is also a teacher at NYU, and we're still friends on Facebook!

If you're visiting Fordham anytime soon, try and catch our production of RENT which opens on February 26 and closes March 1.

Fordham Experimental Theatre (FET)

FET is an exclusively student-run theatre group that performs in the well-loved Blackbox located on the first floor of Collins Hall. Like the Mimes, they put on four show a year, two each semester. Many are student-written, and all are student-directed. FET is known for unique show concepts and sometimes wild directing choices. Since I've been at Fordham, several student-written shows that debuted in the Blackbox have been accepted into various theatre festivals in New York. Two of themCowboys Don't Sing and My Personal Hell—have even played at the New York International Fringe Festival.

My Personal Hell by Jonathan O'Neill at the NY Int'l Fringe Festival, August 2014.

Me and Mike Dahlgren in The Pillowman, April 2012.

FET also has a number of umbrella groups who regularly perform in the Blackbox, including Stranded in Pittsburgh (improv), Free Pizza Sketch Comedy, Fordham Standup (who occasionally perform at Gotham Comedy Club in Manhattan), and Verbal Essences (spoken word poetry). On top of that, they put on a Playwrights Festival every semester, which features student-written one-act plays. Needless to say, FET offers students a ton of opportunities to perform, and it's a great way to get started in the Rose Hill theatre scene.

Currently FET is working on Midsummer Night's Dream directed by Jonathan O'Neill and Chris Pedro. The show opens during the third weekend of February.

Theatrical Outreach Program (TOP)

TOP is dedicated to abridging important plays, often from the classical tradition, and staging them in a more accessible way for today's audiences. Last semester they put on Our Town and Twelfth Night, or What You Will. After their performances at Fordham, for instance, they bring their productions to under-supported high schools in the Bronx area. They put on two shows each semester, and like FET, all productions are put together solely by students. Currently TOP is working on The Laramie Project, directed by FCRH junior David Schillinger.

Production still from Twelfth Night, fall 2014.

There are so many ways to get involved with student theatre at Fordham. You don't need to be a major to be involved in rewarding, high quality productions. For that, I'm extremely grateful. If you have any questions about the arts scene at Fordham Rose Hill, feel free to email me at Hope to see you at auditions this fall!

No comments:

Post a Comment