Student-Run Performance Groups Tackle Classic and Contemporary Plays
This month, Wellesley's student-run theatre group Upstage concluded another successful season of productions, performing classic works as well as brand-new material. This year's plays included Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie (in a new version by John Caird and Trevor Nunn), Time Stands Still by Donald Margulies, Dumb Show by Xena Vronay '15 and Rowan Winterwood '16, and James Goldman's The Lion in Winter.
Upstage is composed of students with interests in various aspects of theatre. They generate four to five productions a year, run entirely by student directors, actors, tech managers, even playwrights. In the weeks leading up to a production, the team spends more than six hours a week practicing; immediately prior to the show period, they rehearse from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Taylor D’Andrea ’15, president of Upstage, says one of the group’s goals is to foster peer mentorship. “We have a lot of members with knowledge of lights or set design, but we also have a lot of members who are simply interested in theatre,” she explains. “We have been doing this assistantship program where older members of the org take on a newer member as an assistant for the show.”
Upstage also serves as a liaison for all the performing arts groups on campus, says D’Andrea. On its various social media accounts, Upstage posts information about all theatre-related events on campus, from Dead Serious performances to Shakespeare Society productions. There also is much cross-pollination among these organizations as several active Upstage participants are involved in other groups as well.
Some Upstage participants are theatre studies majors, such as Natalie Solomon ’16 and Rowan Winterwood ’16, while others hail from disciplines across campus, such as biology major Xena Vronay ’15. Interestingly, Upstage attracts many premed students. Vronay says the performing arts provides an outlet that “offers things that do not get addressed in the sciences.” Vronay and Winterwood coauthored Upstage's Dumb Show, which premiered over the weekend of February 13.
Whether they participate between writing lab reports or are exploring a future career in the arts, the theater provides Upstage members an opportunity to assemble, orchestrate, and lead a production that benefits all who come and watch. Encore!
-Jocelyn Wong ’15