Delayed stage construction hinders theater rehearsals

Lowell Nash

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Crystal Carter, theater junior, Leonard Loughner, theater sophomore, and Maxwell Norris, theater senior, place a board onto the platform that is being built on the Fain Theater stage Friday afternoon. Friday was the first day for set constuction of "August: Osage County", the theater department's first production of the school year. Photo by Lauren Roberts

Alex Collins, theater freshman, Leonard Loughner, mass communication sophomore,  Maxwell Norris, theater senior, and Crystal Carter, theater junior, place a board on a platform being built on the Fain stage Friday afternoon. Friday was the first day for set constuction of “August: Osage County,” the theater department’s first production of the school year. Photo by Lauren Roberts

While preparing for the first production of the year, a mixed cast of 12 theater students, faculty and professional actors had to work around an unfinished stage while preparing for the opening night of the first play of the year August: Osage County.

For the first time since it was built in 1977, hired workers over the summer were replacing the Fain Fine Arts Theatre stage. While the work was scheduled to be completed before school started in the fall, workers found asbestos in the glue and a different set of workers had to be hired to remove the asbestos and to rebuild the stage.

The stage was completed the week of Sept. 7, leaving just over a month to build the set on stage, a set that will be a 23 ft. tall and 28 ft. deep.

“I’m glad the stage is done now,” Laura Jefferson, a theater professor, said. “It was supposed to be open from the get go. The same thing happened last year where the stage wasn’t open until a few weeks after school started.”

Initial cost estimates for the revision were $15,000. However, after asbestos was discovered in the glue, estimates went up to $45,000 and the final cost may be higher than that when the final bill comes in.

Since rehearsals began in late August, the cast has been rehearsing in the studio theater.

”It’s always great to be on the set you’ll be working on,” said Kay Capasso, a professional actress and wife of assistant professor Matthew Singletary. “But being in this studio helps us prepare like a professional. It is closer to how it would be in the real world.”

Houston Pokorny, junior in theater and assistant stage manager, added. “I like working in the studio. It helps build stronger bonds and the actors grow closer together.”

Singletary, director of the first play of the season, said, “I believe the saying goes ‘man makes plans and God laughs.’ Getting everything finished will be a mad rush, but we are committed to it.”

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