Students produce interim CTC shows


Grace Swanson

Students perform short plays in a lab theater setting this weekend.

This weekend, three teams of students will show off a month’s worth of work for this interim’s Calvin Theater Company performance. Rather than having a single show with a large cast and crew, the CTC board has decided to put on three one-act plays, each with their own small cast and crew. Each story is unique and varies in tone from the other two.

“If you’re not a theater person and not used to seeing productions and shows, it’s a fun way to get started,” says senior Taylor Hartman, the director of one of the shows. “The shows move at different speeds and are different content-wise… It’s like a nice little taste of the larger shows or things similar to it.”

The three shows cover a variety of genres and time periods. Senior Julia Verstraete directed “Tall Tales” from “The Kentucky Cycle,” a story set in 1890 that follows Mary Anne Rowen. Mary Anne is a naive young woman who learns a harsh lesson after falling for the charm of JT Wells, a manipulative man.

This story really resonated with me because it deals with a part of history that is not often talked about or taught,” Verstraete explained. “I think that Mary Anne realizes very quickly… that people are not inherently truthful and good. I think this is a realization that many people experience… as they grow up and learn more about the ‘real’ world.”

Junior Zachery Renaldo, on the other hand, has spun his show, “Closing Costs,” into more of a comedy. The show focuses on Harris, a man constantly on his iPad, and Alex, a bubbly real estate broker. Harris knows all about the apartment he’s buying; the cost, the dimensions, the location — but he doesn’t know what it looks like. Alex, though, is determined to make Harris experience the place for himself. Renaldo connected with the show’s message to enjoy life.

“I personally struggle with the problem of, y’know, actually being in reality every now and then,” he explained. “Working on this whole thing, it’s brought back to me personally, y’know, ‘Get off your phone, get off your screen, there’s a lot to look at.’”

Hartman hopes that her play, “The City,” will connect with the anxieties of upperclassmen ready to graduate. Our main character is Lynn, a high school teacher dealing with a house she has to herself after a recent divorce.

“I think that there’s a lot to learn as new and emerging adults, like with older college students,” explained Hartman. “Like, when you start to go out and choose where you wanna live. I think keeping the lessons and themes of the show in mind when you do that is interesting and would be beneficial.”

Each production challenged the three students. Although they have worked on CTC productions before, the one-month time crunch was a challenge to say the least. Add to that the restrictions of working within a class schedule, and the production crews had their work cut out for them getting everything done on time.

“It’s been a little more difficult since the entire thing is based around a class, so it’s been hard to coordinate schedules and all that kind of stuff,” Hartman recalled. While all three directors were part of the interim class that put these shows together, the actors include students from outside the course.