Putting the community into college theatre

Teresa Taylor — Staff Writer

In the fall 2021 semester, senior Dakota Klein, junior Miranda Munson, junior Nathan Hopkins, and sophomore Lynn Smit formed the Dordt University Theatre Club to create opportunities for students outside the departmental productions.

“The Theatre Club is a community with the purpose of inviting all Dordt students who may have done theatre in the past as an activity, or just watching theatre for fun, to meet others with a common interest,” Munson said.

During the 2021-22 academic year, the Theatre Club hosted a showing of Come from Away, held a game night, and coordinated buses to productions at Northwestern College.

This year, the board members plan on organizing more events to increase turnout and maximize experiences.

On Sept. 24, 2022, the Theatre Club held its kickoff event for the semester. The Forced Family Fun Night began at 6 p.m. and concluded shortly before 11 p.m. Twenty students met at Smit’s house and worked together to set up. They wiped down chairs, lit a fire in the firepit, and hung a sheet to project a movie.

Before the sun set, the club played yard games and roasted hot dogs. From the pile of sticks for the fire, they pulled “swords” and reenacted the sequence from a Stage Combat workshop in April 2022.

“It was fun to reminisce and practice a skill learned in a previous class, even with subpar equipment,” sophomore Jakob Kamp said. “It’d be better with real swords.”

Once darkness fell, the group roasted marshmallows to make s’mores and had a debate on how to roast the best marshmallow. Eleanor Ryder, a freshman majoring in studio arts, argued in support of burning the marshmallow.

“It’s a metaphor for my approach to life,” Ryder said. “I just want the results, so I try the quick and easy method that doesn’t even produce the full effect. I burn the marshmallow to cook it fast, but it doesn’t melt the inside.”

Others argued for a more methodical approach, preferring to roast the marshmallow slowly and preserve the integrity of the s’more.

“It’s not charred, a little crisp on the outside and nice and soft on the inside,” Kamp said.

They then moved their chairs to watch The Phantom of the Opera (2011). The chilling temperature, light breeze, and crunching leaves added to the eeriness of the production. Most of the students had not seen the opera prior to the event.

The club is hosting a 24-hour theatre event starting Sept. 30 and ending Oct. 1. In the 24 hours, students will write and perform a piece for their fellow members. Also in October, the club will sell baked goods at Arts on the Prairie and organize an Improv Night. In November, the club is partnering with One Book, One Sioux County to present a staged reading of Trifles.

All students who are interested in joining can email Munson for more information.

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