By Katharine Grubb
February 9, 2017
While some Lock Haven University students could be found napping, partying and hastily ordering books for the new semester during this past break, a few theatre-bound students took a different approach through research and preparation for the spring production of “One Slight Hitch,” a main stage performance directed by Ramona Broomer, an assistant professor for the theatre department and advisor of University Players.
University Players is a theatre-based club, but is inclusive to all majors. All shows are student run and funded by the University Players. All theatrical productions LHU advertises are supported by the University Players, and students in the club get to be a part of every aspect of these shows, from selling tickets in the box office and handling stage equipment, to directing and performing in high-quality productions. Students are given a great deal of responsibility during these tasks, and the adrenaline of producing an amazing show is what fuels each individual to be their very best on and off stage. Being a member of University Players is difficult, but the thrill of doing something you are passionate about makes being a part of this club an exciting form of work that should be experienced and recognized. Ramona Broomer plans to get her students the recognition she knows they deserve this Spring with Sloan’s mainstage theatrical production “One Slight Hitch.”
“One Slight Hitch” is a play about a woman named Delia who bends over backwards just to make her daughter Courtney’s wedding day perfect. While Delia is determined to make this the best wedding in all of history, fate has something else in mind. Suddenly, Courtney’s perfect wedding isn’t as flawless as Delia wants, and a surprise appearance by an old flame may determine, much to Delia’s dismay, if the wedding will even continue. The show is full of comical moments and surprising twists. The audience won’t have a second to sit back and will instead be perched on the edge of their seats with anticipation, amazement, awe and an even more astounding amount of alliterated emotions.
It’s important for productions to be advertised on all reachable student platforms, because while students try their hardest to make theatre important at Lock Haven University, it is a sad truth that theatre is becoming less funded and less known as each year passes. By the time LHU’s 2020 class has graduated, theatre may be completely erased from education. While University Players has assured the student population that it will continue to exist even after our theatre major and minor have ceased, the idea that theatre is dying out worries the few who are still dedicated to the arts. This includes the ever decreasing 2019 class of theatre majors which, according to the moratorium act that deleted the theatre major effective 2016, will be the last class able to receive a degree in theatre from Lock Haven University. I asked Karlita McCarty, a sophomore and one of only two theatre major students in her class, what it was like to watch the arts decline at LHU.
“It makes me very sad, especially since the arts are one of the main reasons I came here. They [representatives from LHU] assured me that the arts would always be a prominent part of the campus and that they would continue to be so for a long time.” McCarty had no clue that a “long time” would only mean one year. “I’m very disappointed with the president, who has chosen to cut funding to our program and to ultimately cut our program entirely. I have always really loved theatre and I love being part of something bigger than myself.”
When asked for advice on how to make students aware of the funding situation, McCarty made it very clear that advertising for shows has been shown a bit of slack. “I don’t think there is a lack of enthusiasm, but I do think there is a lack of communication between the theatre department and the student body. We need better advertising. All we do is hang posters and not very many people pay attention to those. I know I don’t.”
McCarty continued by stating some strong opinions she has about why theatre is being pushed out of college education. “Certain people higher up on our political spheres don’t think it’s important. Meanwhile they’re going home and turning on their favorite TV shows and they have no conception of where that’s coming from. People have to actually be trained to act.”
McCarty is one of only two theatre majors in the 2019 graduating class, a fact that has both discouraged and inspired her. “For one, it does make me feel a certain amount of pride because I do have love for our program but at the same time I wish that it was bigger, I wish that more people would be a part of it and I wish now that it’s gone into moratorium and people can’t be a part of it, I wish that people that wanted to be a part of it could be a part of it.” For McCarty’s closing note she encouraged people to audition and attend the upcoming shows.
Auditions for “One Slight Hitch” took place Wednesday, Feb. 8 and are still taking place today, Feb. 9 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. in Sloan Auditorium. Auditions for University Players’ Cabaret Fundraiser will be Monday, Feb. 13 and Tuesday, Feb. 14 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in Sloan.
Attendance for all music events has reached an all-time low, despite the students’ constant hard work and dedication to their performances. Please give your classmates the support they work to deserve by helping them reignite the arts at LHU.