One class, one final, one act

Todd Miller | Collegio writer

Last weekend four communication students put on a show called “Theater Unleashed,” a set of four one-act plays.

The show was the final for Cynthia Allan’s communication 544 stage direction class, and is a culminating project to showcase the skills they’ve learned during the semester.

“The directors are responsible for the whole show,” said Allan, chair of the Department of Communication. “All the actors are a part of their final exam. Students helping other students helps them realize their vision.”

Brett Baker, one of the directors, says that the show allowed them to grasp the entire process of directing.


Jim, Wanda, and Marsha, played by Ethan Caldwell, Laura Ismert and Jeanine Kunshek, perform “Wanda’s Visit” in Grubbs Hall on Saturday, Dec. 3. Photo by: Sam Clausen/Collegio

“We’re learning how to direct, build a set, go through the auditioning process, including call backs,” said Baker, senior in communication. “Everything that goes into a theater production.”

Robert Wilson, one of the directors, says that the experience proved to be challenging.

“I’ve never directed before,” said Wilson, senior in communication education. “It took me a while to get comfortable with taking charge. This experience has helped me to grow to be a leader.”

None of the actors or actresses in the plays are in the class. Those students and the technicians are all volunteers who elected to use their time to help with the performances.

“The directors were talking about it at ‘Madwoman,’” said Jesse Denton, senior in communication and one of the volunteer actresses. “I have to take the class next year, so I figured I’d get involved and see what was incorporated.”

Taylor Patterson says she also heard about the show from the directors during the production of “The Madwoman of Chaillot,” the play put on by the PSU Theater in October.

“I thought it sounded fun, so I auditioned,” said Patterson, freshman in mathematics. “I enjoy acting.”

Some of the actors like Ceyeli Corbett say that the one-acts came together much differently than the larger performances they’ve been in.

“There was less time, so it was harder to get into character,” said Corbett, freshman in communication. “And you want to make it perfect for the director because their grade depends on it.”

Jonathan Eastman says he has been helping with the one-act plays for two years now. Eastman says he volunteered to help with the technical side of the play, handling the sound.

“I’m friends with a lot of the people involved,” said Eastman, senior in communication. “They asked for my help.”

Eastman says he has a passion for taking care of the sound for the stage and would love to do it for a living.

“I enjoy doing this. I enjoy theater,” Eastman said. “Helping with the one-act plays lets me use the skills I’ve learned in broadcasting.”

Eastman says the one-act performances are easier to handle than larger performances.

“It’s easier because of the size,” Eastman said. “Not the size of the show, but the size of the space. There’s less to worry about.”

Allan says that this is the students’ first time producing something for the public.

“They’re putting their final out there in the public’s eye,” Allan said. “It’s very nerve-racking. It’d be like a mathematics major going out in the Oval and doing their math final on an overhead projector for everyone to see.”

Allan says the class is required for all theater emphasis and communication education students, but can be taken by anybody who meets the requirements.

“It’s a very time-consuming class,” Allen said. “It can’t really be taken for fun.”

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