By Isabel Povey, Summer Times Staff Writer
Next week, on Friday, July 26th at 7 p.m. in the Actor’s Lab Theater in the Goel building, the Exeter Summer Theater Company will be sharing an original play the students wrote themselves, called ”No Fear”.
The show is a series of improv scenes all connecting back to the overarching theme of fear. The students in the theater program worked tirelessly to create the entire show in a way that would effectively address a multitude of different fears.
Rickey Watson, Exeter Summer’s theater director, made it very clear that the program is about so much more than acting. In order for the students to create their own show, they first needed to become comfortable with one another. “We started by creating an atmosphere for the ensemble, a group of people and a space that would give each other artistic freedom to fully create without the fear of ‘not being good enough,’” he said. “This was always the tricky part.”
Once the students were comfortable with one another, they were split into groups and given a small amount of time to devise a scene relating to fear. They then presented their ideas to the cast and worked together, honestly and professionally, to decide which scenes would best fit into the performance. “The students had to be open to peer constructive criticism, and be bold enough to actually give it too,” said Mr. Watson. “From the first week, students were creating and modifying. The last two weeks, we worked on cleaning the outline of the show. We are now in tech, so the process is still in development!”
The final dress rehearsal will be held on Thursday at 5:10 p.m., and students are encouraged to attend.
Mr. Watson says he is very proud of his students and hopes their peers will come to the shows to not only support their friends, but to experience something special that will touch each of them personally and is surely to leave them thinking.
He says he found his passion teaching theatrical arts for an after school program at the Harlem Children’s Zone in New York. “I am still auditioning in the city, but to me, opening up scholars’ creative minds, helping them find and develop their artistic selves is more gratifying than just doing a show here and there,” he said.
His resume is impressive, stacked with experience directing countless shows for many drama organizations, including the National Black Theater. It all started when he watched his sister bring joy to an audience while she was acting in a school play, and he became inspired to “make people happy like that too”.
Ceren Sengun, from Turkey, doesn’t have the extensive theater background like her director, but her passion is still strong. She says she has always loved acting, but never found the opportunity to do anything about it. “When I saw I could do it as an extracurricular here, I signed up right away,” she said. “I can’t wait to perform with the rest of the ensemble as a team and see the audience’s reactions.”
The performances will be held in the Goel Center for Theater and Dance this Thursday at 5:10 and Friday at 7. Students are encouraged to attend the shows and support their peers as they explore moments of fear and share all of their hard work.