Written By T. Kinkley, Red and Black Arts & Culture Writer
Olin Fine Arts Center hosts the majority of plays, musicals, band and choir concerts, and outside shows on campus. Theatre Slam! is a smaller scale event that usually ranges between forty-five minutes to an hour and a half, depending on the number of students that participate.
It gives students the opportunity to practice writing and directing plays with smaller risks than a full production and with smaller audiences. This allows for students to spark their creativity in different aspects of theatre. Writers can act in their own play and the director can act in the play that they direct. The only catch is that writers cannot direct their own play.
Every year, in order to allow students to try out one or more skills (including acting, directing and writing), Alpha Psi Omega, Washington & Jefferson College’s chapter of the International Thespian Society, invites anyone to participate. Theatre Slam! takes place at the beginning of every fall semester to provide students an introduction to the theatre program before the fall play’s auditions take place.
For this year’s production of Theatre Slam!, the show ran for just under an hour. It consisted of ten student-written plays that were also performed and directed by various students. Most actors performed in three to four of the plays, with some performing in more depending on the number of actors needed per play. All students who participated were returning members of the theatre program, with the exception of two interested students who decided to put their theatrical skills to the test. The subjects of the plays were voted on by the participating students. The plays ranged in topics from comedy to tragedy, layered in a way that made each memorable. For example, two comedic plays follow one tragedy to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Another unique idea to keep the audience engaged was an idea of “Skitception.” Sophomore Gianna Nazzaro wrote “Skitception” as a way to open and close the show. This allowed the audience to feel like the show was a set of plays inside of one larger play. It gave the show an interesting twist to further keep the audience on their toes. When asking attendees about their opinion on Theatre Slam!, two students spoke up to address how much they enjoyed the show.
“I believed the show was a beautiful experience. Every comedic play had me laughing. I enjoyed every joke and I loved every skit” said sophomore Syd Kulsic.
Another student, sophomore Rome Oliver stated, “I loved watching the actors act out all of the different plays. It was great to see the diversity of the student’s writing.” If you missed the original live production and you are interested in watching this year’s Theatre Slam!, don’t worry! You can view a streamed version on the W&J Theatre Facebook page.