Making scarecrows come to life on a budget

Megan Confer

In the past year, Chase Ziegler, junior theatre studies major, has written, directed and partially funded the production of his play, “Scarecrow Family Dinner.”

The plot follows two scarecrows that come to life on a farm in Oklahoma and attempt to pursue their dreams. Along the way they face challenges, romances and sticky situations, creating many opportunities for laughs.

Scarecrow Family Dinner will be performed Monday, Feb. 6 and Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Erdmann-Zucchero Black Box Theatre in the Music and Speech building. Admission is free and open to the public and doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

Students wrote, directed, choreographed and performed the entire play. They also paid for part of the materials themselves.

Amy Essick, junior theatre studies major and stage manager for the play, said Round Table, a student organization that sponsors student productions, provided the group with the $50 budget to produce the play.

Essick said although they had some resources for the costumes, the team provided many necessary materials themselves.

“You give a lot to these productions,” Essick said. “We had to provide a lot of the costumes ourselves because, we needed crow outfits. No one has crow wings.”

Ziegler said he had to be creative while working with a small budget.

“I bought a few things, I bought hula skirts to cut up for hay for the scarecrows,” Ziegler said. “It’s low budget, even if I’m pouring all my money into it.”

Ziegler not only managed to work with a limited budget, but he also played a variety of roles in the construction of the play. As director, he faced the challenge of balancing every aspect of the performance.

“I played a part in every part of the process,” Ziegler said. “The problem is getting everyone on task and making sure no one was sitting around doing nothing. You need to make sure you’re using your time wisely.”

Jerimie Newcomb, senior theatre studies major, plays a scarecrow in the production. He has directed other student productions and said the biggest challenge is being on your own to pull the production together.

“As the director, you’re also the producer, so you’re also dealing with props and scenery and finding someone to do the lights,” Newcomb said. “Most of the time you end up doing the sound and costumes by yourself.”

Newcomb said that learning to do everything on your own is a big challenge, but it’s worth it.

“I think it’s a good challenge because it forces us to push ourselves into other areas of theater and not settling into one area,” Newcomb said.

Newcomb also said that budget definitely played an important role.

“You don’t have the budget to just go out and buy things,” Newcomb said. “You have to find things and you have to say ‘Ok well I can’t do this because I don’t have the money, so how do I do it in my budget and make it effective.’”

Ziegler said “Scarecrow Family Dinner” is more than just a simple play.

“Overall it’s a performance, it’s not just a play,” Ziegler said. “There’s music and dancing and there will be lots of fun little knickknacks here and there. Overall, if you want to have a good time, come see it.”

Contact Megan Confer at [email protected].