The annual Freshman Theater Project is set to be performed on Dec. 9 and 10 at the Colorado State University Center for the Arts. This is a tradition of the freshman seminar class which consists of 27 first year and transfer students studying theater.
The production is intended to solidify these new students as members of the program, but this year the production is a little different; the students have created their own production rather than performing an already written play.
The idea is one that dates back to 1974 in the Royal Court of England, according to freshman seminar professor Walt Jones. It is the idea of an entire crew working and to studying a single topic. They learn everything they can about the topic and create a performance using their research.
“There is no such thing as a documentary theater performance,” Jones said. “There’s always some slant to it, but this is as close as it can get.”
The topic of study for this specific production was the question, “If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?” The students in the class asked 70 people this question and used the answers to create a play.
Because there were so many interviewees, there is a fair chance you know someone whose answer is being portrayed in the production. There are no names being used, and all answers have been kept anonymous, but there is sure to be an answer that you relate to.
Jones said all the answers are current ones.
“They are all ideas from the past month or so,” Jones said.
The interviewees range from CSU students and faculty to people outside of the community.
Jones said creating this play is especially helpful for first year students.
“It builds a bond with 26 other students,” Jones said.
At the beginning of the show, the answers to the question will be the first thing performed. Jones said the question holds some weight, which contributes to the bonding experience.
It can be challenging to perform something so personal in front of a lot of people, but Jones said this also contributes to the first year bonding experience because it is something everybody in the class has to do it. Jones even joked that it is like hazing because of this aspect.
Student actors are not the only ones taking part in the actual play; all of the students involved with the theater production including actors, stage managers, designers, playwrights, directors and costume designers are apart of the the performance as well.
Jones encourages people to come see the performances. If you follow the performances put on by theater students at CSU, Jones said this play will give you an opportunity to see the beginnings of these student’s careers at CSU so that you will be able to witness their growth as performers, designers and managers from this benchmark to their future performances at CSU.
The Freshman Theater Project is one that will continue at CSU, and it continues to be a bonding experience for those entering the field together.