GV theatre series comments on real world issues


GVL / Meghan Tripp

Haley Rosendale, Staff Writer

The Grand Valley State University theatre program will host their winter studio performance series from Feb 2-5.

The theatre program will put on two new shows alternating each day in the Linn Maxwell Keller Black Box Theater located in the Haas Center for Performing Arts. “In Love and Warcraft” will be performed next week on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. “Pony up” will be performed Thursday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m.

Theatre faculty James Bell said both studio performances are student-directed and student-designed.

These student-directed productions are a great opportunity for audiences to see usually newer work in our terrific Black Box Theatre venue,” Bell said. “They are generally productions that will especially appeal to student interests. They are also a great way to support student work in theatrical art creation. I encourage students to get tickets and come see both productions – they won’t regret it.” 

These studio performances have been a long-term project for these students. 

According to the GVSU Music, Theatre and Dance website, “Pony Up” is about a world where women ride bikes and men ride horses. The leading role Ruthie meets two friends, Rooster and Pearl,  that have their sights set on making it to a place that isn’t possible with bikes. With the help of a friendly cow, they create a solid friendship and try to find their place.   

Isabella Gielniak, a junior studying theatre, will direct “Pony Up.”

“(‘Pony Up’) is a post-Roe comedy about a world where men ride horses, but women ride bikes,” Gielniak said. “It’s a world of division, boundaries, and binaries with humor, sarcasm and innuendo. Directing ‘Pony Up’ has been amazing. The cast and crew are fantastic, and I can’t wait to see the final product. When we aren’t hyper-focused on the script, the cast and I are always laughing, quoting Tik Toks and having a good time.” 

Anna Compton, a theatre student, is directing “In Love and Warcraft.”

“(Anna) did have some meetings with her cast in the fall, but the majority of the rehearsal work has been since the start of the semester,” Bell said. “She has been working with designers since the fall to conceive of the look of the show. This weekend we will go into tech rehearsals that will bring all of the design and technical elements together with the cast culminating in final dress rehearsals and then the opening next Friday (Thursday for ‘Pony Up’).”

Bell said “In love and Warcraft” is about a student who becomes involved with a warcraft guild that is attempting to help people with relationship problems. 

“(The student) works, besides going to school, by helping people with relationship problems fix those problems by writing letters and social media posts and offering the right words to say,” Bell said. “This student becomes involved with one of her clients and develops a real-world relationship that causes her to address her issues regarding sex, relationships and her physical body as opposed to the avatar she feels more confident with.” 

Theatre students and faculty are excited to show off these studio performances and all the work they’ve been putting into making them happen. 

Freshmen theatre major, Molly Fenn, will play the lead, Ruthie, in the “Pony Up” series. She said she hopes the show will be moving for viewers. 

“It’s gone very smoothly,” Fenn said. “We have had many weeks of rehearsal, and I have never felt lost or behind. I have a great cast, crew and director helping me throughout the entire process.” 

For tickets and more information on the series, visit the online MTD Theater Schedule.