Lab shows give theater students exposure

Katie Fickle

KentWired Video

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Kent State theater students have the opportunity to perform and direct their own shows called lab shows.

Lab shows are one-hour performances run by students. They help students who didn’t get cast in a major role get exposure to the faculty and public, said student director James Lynch.

Lynch is a graduate student in theatre studies and director of the Freshmen Showcase lab show.

“A lot of (students) have chosen this showcase as kind of an opportunity to get their face out in the department and give the faculty and other students a chance to see what they are bringing to the table,” Lynch said.

Casey Cott, freshman theatre studies major, said he is excited to perform in “Mr. Marmalade” because it enables him to participate this semester.

“Lab shows are great because it’s giving me a performance opportunity I didn’t have,” Cott said.

There are three lab shows throughout the semester, and each is similar to a major production said Jerimie Newcomb, senior theatre studies major and director of “Mr. Marmalade.”

“It’s a whole undertaking,” Newcomb said. “It’s just like a regular show. We just don’t have the budget that main-stage shows do. It’s a big deal, (and) there is a lot of work that goes into it.”

The theater student organization, Roundtable, sponsors $50 toward each lab show, Newcomb said.

Although the budget isn’t a large amount of money, students have the opportunity to produce shows that aren’t traditional main stage productions, said Sarah Coon, senior theatre studies major.

“There is more freedom in the lab show,” Coon said. “You are almost forced to be super creative when you don’t have a budget.”

Coon is the director of the lab show “4.48 Psychosis.” She said she wanted to do this piece to challenge herself as a director.

The shows are student directed, but she and the other student directors have a faculty adviser who helps with the show.

Upcoming performances

  • Psychosis 4.48

    Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 19 at noon

  • Mr. Marmalade

    Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 17 at noon

    Performances are in the EZ theater

“Each individual project has a second faculty adviser, someone who is there to help personally,” Coon said. “So you have the safety net of an adviser who can help us do things we don’t know how to do or aren’t able to do.”

Dan Ebert, freshman theatre studies major, said performing in “4.48 Psychosis” and working with a student director is fun, and it’s giving him practice for a main-stage production.

Coon said the lab shows are less publicized than bigger productions, but she wants more students to attend the shows.

“I encourage more students to come,” Coon said. “They are free. They never run more than an hour, and students will get the chance to see something really unique that they won’t get anywhere else.”

Contact Katie Fickle at [email protected].