Group provides theatre outlet for engineersBy Cokie Thompson | 09/10/2014 10:42pm
The student of the College of Engineering express their creative side through theatre performances. CW | Hanna Curlette
The College of Engineering Does Amateur Radical Theater began a few years ago when a few engineering students expressed interest in theatre.
Jackson Morris, a junior majoring in aerospace engineering, has been involved in the troupe since his freshman year and currently serves as the group’s president. He heard about the group on a campus tour and decided to join after having been involved in theatre in high school. He said the group has a unique flair because of the members’ interests.
“Being mostly engineers, I think we have a little bit of our own off-brand humor,” Morris said.
Luke Haynes, a sophomore majoring in electrical engineering and theatre, said he was excited about the group before he even set foot on campus, which he said does more than just perform.
“While the majority of our time and resources do go to the group productions, we also have bi-monthly meetings where we play theatre games and hone skills, like how to cold read, how to dissect characters and how to prepare for an audition,” he said.
The upcoming performance, “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind,” is modeled after a group of neo-futurists from Chicago. The group’s 12 actors will write, direct and perform 30 plays in 60 minutes in the order of the audience’s choosing.
“It’s fast-paced, it’s hilarious and it’s got something for everyone to enjoy,” Morris said. “We really all have a great time performing it and so does the audience.”
In the upcoming performance, Haynes works as an actor and writer in addition to helping backstage and with directing.
“With this group, especially in this show, it really is a true collaboration, so you get to wear as many ‘hats’ as you like,” he said.
Ashley Brown, a sophomore majoring in finance, said she did not come to the University with much theater experience. This past spring, she played Cassie in the group’s production of “Rumours.”
Brown said her involvement in the group has helped her grow as a person and as a performer.
“I really enjoyed playing this character and learning my strengths and weak nesses as an actress,” Brown said. “This group allowed me to break out of my comfort zone. Some of our members are actually rather shy, but if you saw them at a meeting or rehearsal you would have never known.”
CDA put on a different version of the performance “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind” in the spring and Haynes said he has enjoyed the unusual experience of the shows.
“It was a great way to bond with people who were like me and liked the same things I did,” he said. “Even though I had just met these guys, the plays had me dancing, falling in love and playing freeze tag with them in minutes and they don’t make ice breakers better than that.”
Haynes said he feels nothing but support from his fellow cast members, both in the classroom and on the stage.
“I genuinely feel like we’re all on the same team,” Haynes said. “There’s no cliques, there’s no rivalry or competition for roles; it’s just everybody working together to make the best show we can.”