Easter Eggs

Img 500Theatre is traditionally slow during the week of Easter. Too many other family and religious obligations make seeing a show difficult, let alone trying to co-ordinate the schedules of the people theatre companies need to actually mount productions for audiences. But the Gentle Guide has found a couple of things going on at Drake... just like finding hidden Easter Eggs. Check out these events happening Friday and Saturday.

On Friday you can enjoy The Chronicles of College Dating. Performed as a staged reading, this almost fully-formed show is being presented for the first time to the public. Written by local actress and writer Melody DeRogatis (who has been a part of multiple DM Playhouse and Drake productions), Chronicles features a number of Drake students playing... well... college students, trying to find their way through the demands of dating in the modern world. Between technology, social media, and (mis)communication, is it any wonder that relationships even get started, let alone survive?
Chronicles of Creation
I asked Melody about the beginnings of the project. "The whole thing started because a friend of mine was interested in doing a revue of music, with scenes attached, about "sugar dating" (how people will date someone, typically older than them, for money/status). I was writing a play about depression and millennial, and writing scenes for my friend on the side... and ended up having way more fun writing the piece for my friend!"
"I was in English one day, when an entire storyline came into my head, and it went from a collection of scenes surrounding sugar dating, to a story of 3 women navigating the online dating world, some of which is loosely based on my experiences."
And how far along has Chronicles developed since that initial genesis? "The show right now is where I think I want it to be. [The performance] Friday is all about testing how it works with audiences, and from there, I can see what kind of edits I need to make moving forward to make this show as effective as possible!"
Creative Chaos
Melody does everything in theatre, from writing to acting to directing. She literally hasn't stopped since catching the theatre "bug" at age 14. "I always was singing, drawing, making movies, or some variation thereof. When I got to high school, I started doing theatre, and by my sophomore year I was working on 2-3 shows at a time."
"Ultimately, [acting and performing] are two very different animals. I've determined that nothing gives me quite the same rush as that of a good performance. It's a type of rush I can't get anywhere else."
"That having been said, as a writer, there's nothing that makes me feel quite as proud as writing something that touches people - be it a single chuckle, tear, or anything in-between. I write for other people--to make an impact, and a difference in the world. I perform for me, to make a difference for myself."
"Theatre is a field where, if you want it, you can do it. Write a show, sign up to work backstage, get involved, and you can do anything!"
The Chronicles of College Dating will be presented in the Monroe Recital Hall, in the Harmon Fine Arts Center on the Drake Campus. The show starts at 7:30 on Friday April 14, and admission is FREE!!
And then, if you have some time on Saturday, here's another free show at Drake to see:
Exploration of Emotion
Img 502Stuart Kofron has been a student at Drake for the past four years, and his time here in Des Moines is almost over. But before he goes, he's got his Senior Recital to present to us. Entitled NorthEast/SouthWest: An Exploration of the Human Emotion, Stuart will be sharing songs from all four years of his college training as a Musical Theatre major, plus a few extras thrown in as well.
I asked about the subtitle, and why he'd want to cover a topic as vast as all of human emotion. HIs response shows the depth of his involvement, and his interest in the spectrum of feeling.
"I came up with the idea from a poetry chapbook that I was working on throughout my summer between high school and college. They were small poems about all types of human emotion. Some happy, some sad, and some funny. I've always been fascinated with human emotion and exploring the different levels that emotions can be. Am I sad, or am I melancholy? Am I angry, or am I peeved? Am I happy, or am I ecstatic? These are all different levels of otherwise rather commonplace emotions."
"The usual idea of a senior recital doesn't need to have a theme. It's sometimes just an overview of songs that someone has rehearsed a lot and studied over the course of their voice lessons. But I chose some of these particular songs because they mean something to me. They express emotions through their characters that deeply convey the real world. They are characters that we can relate to because we have all felt like them at some point or another in our lives."
Emotional Directions
"The title 'NorthEast/SouthWest' came to me because it sounds like the old times idea of 'the four corners of the Earth.' I feel as though human emotions are like individual marks on a compass. They have their purest, extreme forms, like True North on a map or a compass. But they also have smaller, more nuanced forms that are not as precise or exact as just 'angry' or 'happy'."
"Going into this senior recital actually has some of these emotions being expressed in my own life. I'm feeling very excited to perform for everyone. I'm also a little nervous, just as any performer is before going out for a show. But I'm also feeling very nostalgic."
"These past four years have been so wonderful for me and it's almost incredibly unfathomable to think that it's all ending in a few weeks. I always get a little missy eyed when I get nostalgic, so there's a sense of sadness in saying goodbye to all this, goodbye to the place that feels like home for me."
"But all in all, I know that once I get up on that stage I'll have a feeling of overwhelming fun. I love to perform, and it's a show that's entirely mine, so it's really going to be a riot up there."
"Go to the theatre. See a show. Watch people on stage become these human beings with lives as complex as our own. And feel things. It's okay to feel things. Theatre is a marvelous place for people to experience the blurred lines between life and art, but still appreciate each of these individually."
Stuart Kofron's Senior Recital NorthWest/SouthEast: An Exploration of Human Emotion will be presented at 1:30pm on Saturday April 15 at the Sheslow Auditorium in Old Main on the Drake campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Drake Stuart Kofron Melody DeRogatis The Chronicles of College Dating