Ohio State Lima
By Joe Brandesky, Professor
The Lima campus theatre program had another active year with two productions in the 2015-16 academic year. Dr. Maria Ignatieva, associate professor of theatre, directed and adapted Rudyard Kipling’s The Cat That Walked By Itself for our Theatre for Young Audiences performances during Autumn 2015. Over 1700 local school children witnessed the production. Margie Anich, lecturer in theatre, directed the musical Rent during Spring 2016. This production was a continuation of our biannual collaboration with the music department at Ohio State Lima and featured musical direction by Dr. Matt Young. Dan Matthews, assistant professor of theatre, designed sets, and Loo Brandesky designed costumes for all productions this last year. Doug Raver, assistant technical director, spent the year keeping us and the auditorium schedule organized.
Eight students were awarded Martha W. Farmer Theatre scholarships during the past academic year. Among them was Haley Smith who received the Ohio State Lima Theatre Departmental Academic Award in Spring 2016.
Ohio State Mansfield
By Joe Fahey, Associate Professor
There were many exciting moments during the 2015-2016 season at Mansfield. We started in October with Ken Ludwig’s cross-dressing comedy Leading Ladies under the direction of Michael Neff. The pratfalls and mistaken identities were a hit, and our young actors brought the show home with charm and energy.
We followed in November with Waiting for Godot, directed by guest artist Joe Bishara. For this production we brought the audience on stage in a thrust arrangement, and the result was an intimate, compelling performance by a mixed cast of students, faculty, and community artists.
For our final show of the season, we welcomed back Associate Professor of Music David Tovey with a production of Damn Yankees directed by Drew Traxler. A large cast, large crowds, baseball, and some comic-romantic bedevilment made for an exciting combination.
In the midst of all of this homegrown theatre activity, we had the great pleasure of working with the Children’s Theatre Foundation and the Ohio State Arts Initiative to host the Royal Shakespeare Company on our campus and at three local high schools for workshops and performances of The Famous Victories of Henry V. Through these efforts over 1,500 students were able to enjoy the RSC’s exceptional work.
Ohio State Newark
By Edie Norlin, Lecturer
During the 2015-2016 academic year, a play was produced each semester. In the fall we produced Angel Street, a Victorian melodrama by Patrick Hamilton. Performance dates were Nov. 12-22, 2015 in Black Box Theater, LeFevre Hall. Angel Street focuses on a seemingly normal couple, the Manninghams. It turns out that the suave Jack Manningham is slowly torturing his wife, Bella, into insanity under the guise of kindness. Soon, Bella is visited by a Scotland Yard inspector, Rough. He convinces her that her husband is a maniacal criminal wanted for a murder committed 15-years-ago. Bella gains confidence in herself as she and the inspector work together to build up evidence against Jack. Cast were 3 university freshmen and 4 local veteran actors. This combination of experienced and inexperienced actors helped to significantly raise the performance bar. All actors were challenged in reasonable ways that helped create a powerful and artistically rendered finished product. Total attendance for 8 performances was 257 with a possible house of about 60. Cast/crew consisted of 7 students and 9 community artists.
Our spring production was God of Carnage, an adult comedy by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton. Performance dates were April 9-19, 2015. A playground altercation between eleven-year-old boys brings together two sets of Brooklyn parents for a meeting to resolve the matter. At first, diplomatic niceties are observed, but as the meeting progresses, and the rum flows, tensions emerge and the gloves come off, leaving the couples with more than just their liberal principles in tatters. Cast were 2 freshman and 2 community actors. Total attendance for 8 performances was 186. Cast/crew included 3 students and 8 community artists.
Improvements of the theater facility continue to be on-going. With leftover budget money additional body mics and miscellaneous items were purchased.
Finally, Black Box space has been used for other purposes beyond the 2 previously mentioned productions as rehearsal space for The Wonderful Wizard of College, partnership with A Call to College and Newark City Schools; a Licking County Players production of Taffetas; and for various campus events.