GVSU theater club STAGE to present new production

GVL / Courtesy - Luke Gwizdala
 From left to right: Riley(Julia Knutson), Ashley (Bailey Morgan), Dylan (Christine Davis), Mason (Nathen Julien), Narrator (Joe Blair).

GVL / Courtesy – Luke Gwizdala From left to right: Riley(Julia Knutson), Ashley (Bailey Morgan), Dylan (Christine Davis), Mason (Nathen Julien), Narrator (Joe Blair).

Kate Branum

Sometimes, life doesn’t go according to plan. Change is an inevitable part of living, and it isn’t always simple. It’s easy to sit helpless on life’s roller coaster, but it isn’t mandatory. It’s never too late to take control.

Grand Valley State University theater club STAGE will present The End: A Tragedy of Three Parts Friday, April 7, and Saturday, April 8, at 6:30 p.m. in Kindschi Hall of Science, Room 1121 on the Allendale Campus.

The End, written by Kayleigh Van Overen and directed by Luke Gwizdala, opens with main characters Dylan and Ashley, a young couple very much in love. After the perfect date, they part ways, eager to see each other again. The story is interrupted by the narrator, who seems to have misplaced his script. After frantically searching for the script, the narrator is horrified to discover that Dylan has found it.

Dylan realizes that she is merely a character in a play and don’t know anything outside of the show. The narrator then tells her she will experience three tragedies in the play, the first involving a break-up with Ashley, the second being a sudden death in another character’s family and the third revealing an additional character’s failing career.

Dylan refuses to accept her heartbreaking fate and beings to scribble plot changes on the script, changing her destiny, erasing the harsh tragedies that await the other characters and creating happy endings for the entire cast.

“The most obvious life lesson from this that audience members can get is that you don’t have to sit back and let your life just fall into place,” Julia Knutson, STAGE PR manager and student actress said. “You’re the one that can write your own story and give yourself a happy ending.”

The play also highlights the fact that main characters Dylan and Ashley are a lesbian couple who end up experiencing the happy ending they deserve.

“A lot of media feels the need to show the struggle that the LGBTQ+ community has, but seldom allows for them to get their own happy ending,” Knutson said.

STAGE, which began at GVSU in 1995, stands for “Student Technicians and Actors Guild for Entertainment.” The organization was once affiliated with GVSU theater group Mainstage, but has since branched out to focus on student participation on all levels of theatrical productions.

The club is run by 10-student executive board, including: STAGE president Nathen Julien, vice president Landon Lomasney, secretary Shelby Sullivan, treasurer Joe Blair, writers guild heads Kathryn Flucht and Cole Eichelberger, technicians Cassie Mullins and Megan Seay and PR managers Mia Petoskey and Knutson.

Each year, STAGE puts on three different types shows. Some in the past have included: SPAM (Student Plays and More) which is a sketch comedy show, SOAPs (Student One Act Plays), and full-length productions.

“My favorite thing about STAGE is seeing people come out of their comfort zones,” Knutson said. “Whether it’s someone who have never acted before out on stage doing great, or seeking people exclusive to their theatrical ‘clique’ branching out.”

STAGE is always looking for new members. Official audition dates for next year have yet to be determined, but all students who are interested in expanding their acting abilities or who are on the hunt for a low-pressure, judgement-free performance outlet are encouraged to give STAGE a try.

“STAGE is a great place to try new things because, not only are we all friends, but we’re also each other’s support systems,” Knutson said.