Students Raise Funds for Senior Performance
Students studying theater at Eugene Lang conclude their senior year with a senior production, this year's being Tennessee Williams's "Camino Real." Despite the fact that the play is developed and produced through a Lang seminar class, it receives next to no funding. So the students were left with no option but to raise funds on their own.
The budget allocated by the university to senior performances in both dance and theater is $1,000—to share. This figure covers only the lighting, leaving an empty, albeit well-lit stage to play on. In order to put on a production that contains more than a floor and a curtain, the Lang Theater Collective (LTC), an independent theater group, put on a series of performances whose proceeds are going toward their senior work.
The first such show was put on by the improvisational sister group to LTC, Tickling Toddlers. This was performed at the nearby 13th Street Repertory Theater, which has become the site for almost all the independent theater productions of Lang students.
Next, LTC put on a series of student-written plays that alternated nightly with a set of short plays written by Tennessee Williams, also produced by LTC. The Tennessee Williams plays were performed primarily by theater students involved with the senior production of "Camino Real," directed by Cecilia Rubino. “We really wanted to look into some of his one-act plays [in order to] get prepared for 'Camino,' to better know his style,” said Kate Messenger, senior at Lang and member of LTC.
Finally, they produced a play written by LTC member Celine Robinson, which was an adaptation of the Neil Simon play "The Odd Couple." All of these productions were sponsored by donations.
Even with all of their resources going toward the senior production, the students cannot afford to put the play up at the 13th Street Rep, leaving them with one option: Tischman Auditorium. While it is an excellent venue for readings and speakers, it isn’t the ideal space for theater, with its bright orange lining and the giant, gray arch framing the stage. But, said Messenger, they will adapt. “We’re going to try to use the space as much as possible. Like the aisles and the wings. And because we have no money we are going to do a lot with physical stuff where we make the set ourselves.”
The last challenge facing both the senior theater and dance productions is sharing the space. The main problem, said Messenger, is that neither group can construct much of a set, as there is no time to put it up or take it down. “Dance goes on for a matinee and then we go on at night. The next day we go on for a matinee and they go on at night. Everything is overbooked and there’s no room.” But despite these obstacles, Messenger is confident that the play will run smoothly, as long as the effort is there. "There's a lot of collaboration, and if we're all working together it will be great."
"Camino Real" will be performed on May 13 and 15 in Tischman Auditorium.