Studio offers ‘forgiving’ performance opportunity

Emily Foster

Staff Writer

The Department of Theatre and Dance hosts a performance studio night every Monday from 5-7 p.m., providing the opportunity for anyone to come and present theatrical pieces.

Students not participating in the performance studio can also come to watch what students have been independently working on.

“It’s an opportunity for theater and dance groups to be able to get together and present any work that they might have,” said Raquel Cole, a junior theater education major from Troy — “something that they’ve created themselves or that they’ve been working on that someone else has created.”

Cole used a studio night to put on a full production of a play she had originally written in high school and has since been revising. The performance gave her the chance to fully cast and present the play and see it come to life as well as receive constructive feedback.

“It was very encouraging because along with the feedback, it gave me the chance to see that this is something that I should keep doing and need to be working on,” Cole said. “It’s nice to have that encouragement from your friends.”

“It’s just like a free, open space, no judgment, anything you want to perform, just sign up for a slot and just do it,” said Cody Ward, a senior theater major from Phenix City.

Ward will be putting up a 30-minute cut from the musical “Ordinary Days” as part of his senior capstone project at the performance studio hosted on Monday, March 26. He will be doing the full production later in the semester.

“It’s helped me grow and learn a lot of things about directing and doing a show,” Ward said. “I’m excited for the opportunity that they’re giving me.”

Quinton Cockrell, an associate professor of theater who heads the organization of the Monday performance studios, says these are a time for students to present works in progress.

“We have a limited number of performance projects in our season, so everybody’s not going to be in every show, so how do you keep those skills sharp?” Cockrell said. “As an artist, you have to continually be working on something.”

Anyone can come and present something, but it is recommended you come and observe once before signing up to perform. If a student would like to sign up to perform during the weekly event, there are forms in the main office of Malone Hall as well as in the office of the dance department in Long Hall.

“Any performance opportunity helps students who are interested in performing,” Cockrell said. “There’s something that happens when an audience is there.

“You can work on a scene or a monologue by yourself forever, but there’s an energy that comes from people watching it that’s important for the performance.”

Cole said the best advice she has been given is “if you are going to fail, fail big.”

“There’s no grade, so you don’t have to worry about failing and it hurting you,” Cole said.

“If anything, it’s the best place to fail because you get to fail in front of peers and a very forgiving audience that is willing to give you constructive criticism and let you see what you need to work on later on.

“It’s better to try it out and see what happens, than to hold back and wonder, ‘What if I showed this to people?’”

In the past, there have been solo dance pieces, monologues, scenes, full-length plays and musical theater pieces.

Sometimes, the time is used to present acting or directing scenes from classes, practice audition pieces or discuss issues in the department.

“We are all in this together, and we’re all here as artists to promote each other and encourage each other and make each

other better,” Cockrell said.

“That’s what it’s all about.

“I want people who are interested, and I want it bursting at the seams, and I want lots of different kinds of work.”

The performance studio is every Monday night from 5-7 p.m. in the Malone Blackbox Theater.

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