Honors club lends a hand to aspiring actors

For the Honors College Club Theater, acting is about expanding horizons, showcasing talent and giving students of all interests and majors the chance to shine.

The organization presented its second annual November Short Show – a showcase of four student-created plays – Friday through Sunday at the Honors College Commons.

The club was started by hotel restaurant management junior Katelyn Halpern who is the Club Theater Director as well as producer for the show and writer of Opening – a short about an artist having a gallery opening she’s not enthusiastic about.

"I noticed it was difficult for people to get into theatrical productions that are run officially through the theater department if you’re not a major or a minor, because they have so many students of their own," Halpern said. "I know that there are a lot of people coming out of high school and into the Honors College who want a chance to perform, write, act and direct."

Haplern started the club last fall, and this November Short Show marks the group’s third production.

The club is also a branch of the Honors College Student Governing Board.

The November Short Show consists of four short plays written and directed by Honors College students, ranging from tragedy to comedy.

The decision for four short shows instead of one long one came easily to Halpern.

"We’re looking at student work, and right now the best way to write work is to start small and get bigger," Halpern said. "This way we can have more directors, more students on stage, get more people involved."

Although Club Theater is based out of the Honors College, it is open to all students interested in performance, writing, directing and producing in a supportive environment.

"If people hear about our auditions, of course we want everybody to come to the show. We have non-Honors students that participate also," Halpern said.

For several actors in Club Theater, it was their first time acting on stage and branching out into something that interested them outside their own majors, such as electrical engineering freshman Ryan McGhee, who played Jack in One Card Short – a work that explores the comedic possiblities of a deck of cards.

"I went to an Honors retreat and met some of the people that were in Club Theater and wanted to try it out," McGhee said. "I’ve always kind of thought about doing acting, so now would be a good time to try it."

Students audition for the club, and the directors choose who they want for the individual plays, he said.

Another newcomer to Club Theater is (communication science freshman) Melody Lam, who played Emily, a cell phone junky in Phonies, a play about the prevalence of cell phone use in modern society.

Throughout elementary school Lam narrated plays, but the November Short Show was her debut as a character.

"I’ve always had a desire to act on a stage, but I’ve never had the time to actually get into it," said Lam. "It’s hard work, but it pays off."

For more information about the Honors College Club Theater, contact Halpern at [email protected].

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