Every semester, the Department of Theatre and Dance brings lively performances to the stages of the Noel Fine Arts Center. These productions strive to entertain and delight audiences. The first play of this semester brings a different goal.
“Student Body” was written by Frank Winters and is a new play, published in 2016, that tackles some serious issues students encounter on college campuses across the country.
Even the play’s description begins to dig into the topics the characters in “Student Body” face. “A group of college students finds a video of what looks like a rape at a party they attended. Was the rapist somebody they know? Does someone in the group know more than they are willing to admit? As the group argues whether they should call the cops or delete the file it becomes clear that everyone has something to lose.”
Though the plot sounds reminiscent of a Clue mystery, the ideas of the play are rooted in reality and have immediate relevance to campuses such as the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Steve Smith is a professor of acting and the play’s director. He chose to produce the play because he believes it is an important topic that is relevant today.
The cast is comprised of seven women and three men. The department is also putting on a production
of “Spamalot” this semester, and Smith wanted to balance out the male-heavy musical.
“It’s a difficult subject,” said Smith. “It’s a topic that a lot of people are not comfortable with. When you’re doing something this intense, you have to be careful of what the audiences’ perceptions are and careful also of what the actors are asked to perform.”
Though the show is not graphic, it is delicate, which has been a challenge to negotiate while producing the play.
With those considerations, Smith decided to incorporate a talkback after every show, which will feature the cast, Smith and various representatives from UWSP Student Health Services, the Dean of Students office or CAP Services.
“I don’t think anyone will be able to leave the theatre without being changed and learning a lot more than they knew about a very difficult subject,” said Smith.
The show will also be UWSP’s entry in the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, allowing students to compete in the festival as well as see what other campuses are producing in the field of collegiate theater.
The show will run at 7:30 p.m. on October 13-14, 18-21 and at 2 p.m. on October 15 in the Studio Theatre of the Noel Fine Arts Center.
Tickets are available at the Information and Ticket desk on the first floor of the Dreyfus University Center.
Arts & Entertainment Sectional Editor