Mad libs and theater?
This weekend marks the year’s first public fundraising event for Generic Theater Company, as they perform Mad Libbery on Friday and Saturday at the Lisner downstage.
The event will be structured as a series of mad libs, with performers singing popular songs and reciting monologues with words inserted by the audience. “We’re hoping that the crowd will get really dirty or really naughty,” said Douglass Anne Cartwright, public relations director for Generic, emphasizing the thrill of audience participation.
The Student Association allocates funds for theater, but a scripted show can cost anywhere from $500 to $1500. Cartwright said the fundraiser could be beneficial in providing additional resources for directors throughout the year.
“We want to be able to offer our directors a little more flexibility with what they want,” she said.
The event itself represents a trend of new leadership in the Student Theater Council, which is set to more actively engage in public fundraising efforts this year.
“It’s a new idea that we had,” Cartwright said. “Fundraising in the past has been more like selling T-shirts; it’s never really been a big part of student theater.”
The Student Theater Council, a group composed of campus leaders and liaisons from University theater groups, has established fundraising as a top priority for theater groups across the board.
“In the past, STC has never been a fundraising org,” said junior Andrew Rabin, the venue manager. But they are now actively soliciting donations in order to raise both money and awareness.
Theater groups faced problems with performance space last year, when noise complaints restricted use of the downstage, a black box theater in the basement of Lisner. But with ground broken on Pelham Hall renovations, groups will soon be afforded top priority for use of a 100-seat space.
“I think most people were surprised to find that the University went on their own and got a space” for student theater, said junior Ryan Geraghty, the council’s technical director.
The council is preparing for an open meeting regarding Pelham, scheduled for Oct. 20, during which Robert Schneider, director of Mount Vernon Campus Life, will discuss finances and architectural plans. The board emphasized that despite new theater space, they are not moving shows exclusively to the Vern. The Pelham space will be used in addition to current venues Mitchell Theater and the Lisner downstage, they said.
To replace stained, broken and unpadded chairs in the downstage, STC plans to seek $50 donations for about 70 new chairs featuring plaques with the donor’s name.
“Hopefully people will donate more money in the future seeing what we have done” with the chairs, said junior Amanda Rhodes, president of the STC.
Other improvements to Lisner, such as lighting and wiring, are being addressed by members of the theater community who recently joined together to repaint and rewire the downstage.
Increased communication between companies allows for these changes.
“We’re getting more mature,” said Rhodes, giving a nod to a growing realization among campus theater organizations: “What we do affects the classes to come.”
-Amanda Pacitti contributed to this report.