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Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

STAGE theatre show features student talent, on stage, behind scenes

GVL | Sara Bagley

STAGE, a theater club at Grand Valley State University, put on “Yikes! a show consisting of a medley of short comedic numbers, ranging from seven to 30 minutes long.

“Yikes!” gave students the opportunity to demonstrate their talents across many different aspects of the production including, performance, writing and directing to create the final showing.

The show, held on Friday, Nov. 10, had been in preparation for months. The comedy scripts, submitted by members of STAGE back in September, ranged in topic, from an amusing murder examination to a ludicrous heavenly trial.  

Once scripts are submitted, STAGE selects a few to be showcased, and gives all of the writers a chance to direct. One writer and director was GVSU freshman Nate Schall. He wrote and directed “Breaking and Exiting,” and directed “What The Hell Seth?” He originally wrote “Breaking and Exiting” for a high school class, which he said made this experience all the more fulfilling for him. 

“Especially with something I wrote so long ago. It wasn’t like I wrote this for ‘Yikes!’ I wrote it separately, and then I gotta see it be made. It was really cool to tell the actors what to do and see them bring it to life,” Schall said. “There’s no other way to say it; it’s really cool.”

Lydia Castilhos, the playwright behind “What the Hell Seth?” also doubles as the main character, Bee. Initially, she had no plans of writing for “Yikes!” or even auditioning in the main session. However, when she attended the last meeting before submissions were due, the group did a writing exercise, and Castilhos’ plans changed.

“Aside from some very silly things, I actually liked what I wrote (during the writing exercise), so I fixed it up and ended up submitting it,” Castilhos said. “I love writing stories and sharing stories and to be able to share it in a theatre format is even cooler.”

Originally Castilhos had not planned on acting, but after the original actress who was playing the lead stepped down, Castilhos stepped into the spotlight.

“It’s very fun, it’s also very interesting because my vision of the characters are a lot different than the director’s vision,” Castilhos said. “But what I’m doing is letting him (Schall) have his fun with it because that was the original plan.”

A few of the actors played multiple roles across the mini-shows in “Yikes!” including  Emma Juhala, a member of the Eboard for STAGE and social media manager for the organization. Previously, Juhala was a director for the show last year. This time around, Juhala took on the roles of a jury member in “The Worst Possible Defense Before God,” a character named Jamie in “I’ve Had Enough,” and a character named Charlie in “Death by Doormat.” 

“I love STAGE, it’s a great community. You honestly get a little family of people that you get to know,” Juhala said. “Just getting to see those people who have never done this before, get to do what they love which is great.”

Tim Vacanti, an actor who played Detective Phoenix in “Death by Doormat” and Silas in “Breaking and Exiting” shared a similar sentiment. While this is his first show with the club, he’s loved it so far. He walked into the auditions for “Yikes!” and found the process to be really simple, just reading some lines for the directors and later learning which shows they’d selected him for. 

“The teamwork, the preparation, we’ve had a ton of ideas that we’ve improvised throughout all of the rehearsals,” Vacanti said. “It’s relatively quick, but it all comes together. It’s really fun.”

However, the actors and directors couldn’t put on the show alone. It is a combination of their performance and hard work behind the scenes to create the final product. Caitlyn Shaw has been involved with STAGE for two semesters now and was the stage manager for “Yikes!” She served in the same role for STAGE’s production of “My Big Gay Italian Wedding” last semester and happily stepped up when the need presented itself for “Yikes!”

“When I heard ‘Yikes!’ was coming, I knew I didn’t have time to act in it, but I told them if you need a stage manager, I’m your girl,” Shaw said. “I’m a very organized person and I’m good at getting that stuff done.”

Shaw and the rest of the crew primarily work with cast and directors throughout the process of tech week where they finalize lighting and sound effects, timing and set changes. Shaw said it is satisfying to see the finished product on show night even working backstage. 

“People have put so much hard work into this, from the directors, (students) who wrote it, to the actors who brought it all together, to our crew people who made all the sets and are moving everything around, helping everything go smoothly backstage,” Shaw said. “A lot of blood, sweat and tears have been put into this, and I’m excited to (have seen) it come to fruition.”

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