The Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point will kick off its spring performance season with the play “Be Aggressive.”
“This has been the shortest rehearsal process I’ve ever been a part of,” said Courtney Milkent, the stage manager. “We came back a few days before classes started and rehearsed for two weeks.”
Play staging is also a challenge for the cast and crew due to a thrust staging, meaning that an audience will be on three sides of the set, according to director Jenny Stoessner.
“This means at any moment, someone’s back is going to be to you,” Stoessner.
Stoessner chose to present the play in this fashion because the script prompts a constant change of location.
“We don’t have time or the means to, and we don’t really want to build that entire environment,” Stoessner said. “The location is suggested through the lights.”
Marisa Abbot took on the challenge of setting the scene as the lighting designer of “Be Aggressive.”
“Because the play was so abstract scenery-wise, it was important to get the qualities of each setting through the lighting,” Abbot said.
Abbot initially planned her light design for a proscenium staging, which is the style of theatre most people are used to.
“My mentor brought up the fact that it would look completely different from the other two sides,” Abbot said.
Technical challenges were not the only difficult tasks the crew encountered, but the subject matter of the play also proved challenging. “Be Aggressive” portrays the ways that a family deals with the tragic death of their mother.
“The play isn’t really about that, which is a shame,” Stoessner said. “The tragedy of it is that the characters are not dealing with their sense of grief. They’re ignoring it.”
Stoessner encourages the audience not to get hung up on the darkness of this tragedy.
“The play has a lot of serious scenes, but it also is really very funny and unexpected,” Stoessner said.
“Be Aggressive” began its run Feb. 6 to 8 and continues Feb. 11 to 14. Curtain rises at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are available at the Information and Tickets Office or on the office’s UWSP Web page.