Student Theatre Organization to Present The Library

Posted by: Elizabeth Richardson on September 25, 2018, No Comments

Stage II, East Stroudsburg University’s student theater organization, selected Scott Z. Burn’s contemporary drama, The Library, for their October 4-7 production because the group wanted to produce a play that would spark discussion.

“Last year’s staging of The Laramie Project started a lot of dialogue, and we wanted to launch a new conversation this year,” said Stage II president Jenna Worrell, a senior majoring in psychology and theatre with a concentration in acting from Philadelphia, Pa .

The Library is a topical drama that examines the aftermath of a deadly shooting spree at a fictional high school. Someone revealed the location of students hiding in the A/V closet to the gunman, but who was the informer? Which person is telling the truth, and how do the students, parents, and media vie to control the narrative of the story?

“People will have the misconception that this is a dark drama,” noted director Sarah Thatcher, a senior majoring in theatre with a concentration in acting from Pen Argyl, Pa. “To some extent it is, but the play focuses on much more than just the shooting.

“One reason we picked this play was that is doesn’t point a finger or suggest solutions,” Thatcher said, “but shows how we as Americans deal with the aftermath of events like this and offers insights into how much the media shapes the reaction.”

“Art is not art unless it is challenging,” noted assistant director Matthew Namik, a senior majoring in theatre with a concentration in acting from Pocono Lake, Pa. “We want present a drama that speaks to college students and to the community.”

“The biggest challenge is to ‘tell’ the story,” Namik said. “Because Scott Burns is also a screenwriter, there are some scenes that would be easy to do in film, but are more difficult to do in live theatre. You need to find just the right nuances to bring them to life.”

To create the right environment for the nuances of The Library, scenic and projections designer Alison Wieder, a senior majoring in theatre with a concentration in technical theatre from Coopersburg, Pa, needed to design a versatile, interesting set that could show different locations and handle many set pieces, all with a small budget.

“The book shelves are a key element because they double as a projection surface and can move around the stage to create different spaces,” Wieder said. “Some of the projections suggest the location of the scenes while others reflect the role of media in the drama.”

“Making the lighting work with the projections is the biggest lighting challenge in the play,” added Worrell, who is also the lighting designer and production manager for the play.  “It’s like Alison and I are doing a little dance to tell the story that the directors want to create.”

“The production is very much a partnership,” Thatcher noted, “where everyone is encouraged to contribute their ideas. As a transfer student to the ESU theatre department, I’m honored and humbled that my fellow students would trust someone relatively new with this responsibility.”

“Producing The Library has been an amazing collaborative effort between the directors, the stage management team, and the design and technical staff,” Worrell added. “We’ve also had incredible cooperation and mentoring from the theatre department faculty. We wouldn’t be able to do this if everyone hadn’t worked together.”

Curtain times for the performances of The Library are 7:30 p.m. October 4-6, and 2 p.m. October 7. All performances are in the Dale Snow Theatre of ESU’s Fine and Performing Arts Center, Normal and Marguerite streets, East Stroudsburg. The drama is suitable for mature high school students and adults.

General admission for the drama is $10; senior citizens, faculty and staff  (with ID) are $7; and students (with ID) are $5. Because of the intimate size of the Dale Snow Theatre, there is limited seating available and purchasing tickets in advance is strongly recommenced.

Tickets are available online in advance at esu.edu/theatretickets (credit cards only online). Remaining tickets are available at the box office one hour before curtain on performance dates (cash and checks only at the box office).

For reservations or other information, please email esuarts@esu.edu or call 570-422-3483.