Lock Haven University can claim a good deal of pride in the fact that we offer a wide assortment of clubs for everyone interested. Some of these clubs, from honor societies to sports related groups, are more popular than others, but that doesn’t make them any more important. One such club that has been less advertised and needs a bit of time in the spotlight is the SAS club University Players. The club is run by president Katie Fitzgerald and her executive board of officers, including Rebecca Glincman, Mary Beth Ruggiero, Shaun Donohue, Maxi Estrada, Grace Monroe and Kyle Grady.
University Players is a theatre-based club, but allows students from any major to join. This inclusive club produces the Sloan Main Stage and Sloan 321 Countdown Theater shows. Just recently, University Players produced Sloan’s Main Stage show “Next to Normal,” directed by Alyssa Gregg and the Countdown Theatre’s “The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon,” directed by Mary Beth Ruggiero. Students who join University Players have the chance to write a proposal for any future performances, which is how Gregg and Ruggiero were given the chance to direct. All of the shows are student-run and funded by the University Players, which is given a budget for materials like stage equipment, costumes, rights/scripts, etc. All theatrical productions Lock Haven University advertises are backed by the University Players, and students in the club get to partake in every aspect of these productions, from handling tickets in the box office and joining the stage crew, to directing and performing in high-quality shows. Students are even allowed to manage the shows and are given a great deal of responsibility during these tasks. Being a member of University Players is a difficult yet enjoyable form of work that should be experienced and not overlooked.
2016 is the first year that University Players will be producing shows without a “fresh supply” of theatre major students, because that major will no longer be offered to students. Those in earlier graduating classes with theatre majors will be allowed to continue their course and will graduate with a usable degree, but unfortunately the major will no longer be among the list of possible degrees after this year. Professor Ramona Broomer, University Players advisor and the metaphorical head of the club stated in an email that this will be the first academic year of University Players without new theatre majors, due to the Theatre major going into moratorium effective 2016. Students are not pleased by this change, and have been voicing their opinions constantly since the announcement. “I think it’s upsetting that there will no longer be a theatre major. There is so much talent that comes through here, and without that major, a lot of that talent may not want to come here because we don’t have that major. However, that won’t stop University Players from continuing on,” said Rebecca Glincman, an English major sophomore and a University Players officer.
While that truly is a sad statement, Glincman is right. University Players will not cease to exist, and, in fact, Lock Haven University will continue to give us incredible shows, thanks to the club. Although theatre classes may shrink, this has no effect on University Players because they are an independent club. I suggest that if you wanted to be a theatre major, but came too late, you join University Players.
Not only does University Players give us theatrical performances, but they also put their talent to other use as well. This past Halloween they hosted the truly terrifying haunted house
experience in order to raise money for future endeavors, giving students a spooky fun night and securing funds for events like that in the upcoming years.
Speaking of future endeavors, there are a few upcoming University Players shows, one such being the play “4th Graders Present: An Unnamed Love Suicide,” directed by Rebecca Glincman. Auditions for the show were Tuesday, Nov. 29 and Wednesday, Nov. 30 and took place in Sloan 321 at 6 p.m. When asked why she chose to do this particular show, Glincman answered “I chose this show because it seemed interesting. Simple as that. The fact that it was a fourth grader who committed suicide and his classmates are told to perform the play he wrote about his oncoming death, gives a different aspect to suicide. It was also given a genre of comedy/drama and after reading it through, it was a lot more comedic than I had initially thought. But this also gives the audience some comedic relief which is always a good thing to have in any kind of show.”
There will also be an improv comedy show December 8 and 9 hosted by Dangerously Improv, a club that runs parallel to University Players and focuses on the improvisational aspect required in theatre.
Ramona Broomer seems very adamant about University Players’ potential. “Next semester’s productions are a testament to the club’s hard work and passion for theatre.” LHU looks forward to seeing more productions by University Players. Keep up the excellent work.