The curtain rises on three student productions

Out of the boxHave you ever wanted to direct a play? Have you ever dreamed about starring as the lead actor or working behind the scenes of a major production? This ain’t Broadway, but UWaterloo produces some excellent theatre.

Every other March, UWaterloo’s Drama program organizes the UpStart Festival. The three day event consists of several short one-act plays that are entirely student led; from writing and directing to acting and designing. For many upper-year students, the festival represents the culmination of four years of hard work and dedication to honing their craft. This year, the graduating class is proud to present Out of the Box, The Rocket Man and The Phone Book.

Rocket ManThe Rocket Man, written by student Kelly Hornung, is an adaption of Ray Bradbury’s short story collection, The Illustrated Man. The adaptation will be the outcome of months of table reads, scripts, character development and rehearsals.

The Rocket Man is a play about family and the dangers of the imagination,” explains this play’s director, Meghan Landers. “It is set in an alternative present, where space travel is more frequent and houses are run by advanced technology. The Rocket Man follows a family that has been torn apart by the father’s adventures to space.

Yet directing is only one of the roles that make a production come together, according to the fourth-year Drama and Performance major.

There are three cast members; a scenographer who is in charge of all set and lighting; wardrobe designer; videographer; sound designer; and the fantastic second-year tech students who do a lot of the work to make this show happen. We also have the entire faculty help us through this whole process. 

The second play that audiences will see during Upstart is Phone Book. The original work is written by Emma Mann, a fifth year Joint Honours Science & Drama student, and directed by Sam Beurele. In this one-man play, the protagonist explores day-to-day life by talking to strangers on the phone. 

Phone book

Capping off each night’s performance is Out of the Box, a play about a children’s author struggling to complete his book seriesThe playwright, Jenn Addesso is a fourth-year French and Drama Performance major. She came up with the idea last summer and submitted her script to UpStart. After perfecting the content, the story became the third installment of the festival:

Many cuts and changes had to be made in order to strengthen the script and although it can be hard to part with things that you write, in the end it's all for the better.

All three Upstart plays offer a different kind of theatre experience. Students can expect to laugh, think and be inspired by their thespian peers. The UpStart Festival runs from Wednesday, March 16 to Saturday, March 19 at the Theatre of the Arts. Tickets can be purchased at the box office or by phone at (519) 888-4908.

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