A ‘fresh’ debut

With each new year, ambitious freshmen vie to make a name for themselves in the GW arts community. Between body meetings, org fairs and auditions, student theatre groups also vie for the best of these kids.

But for Generic Theatre Company, chosen newbies have already been selected to perform in this weekend’s annual production, “The Freshman Showcase”.

A compilation of four one-act plays, “The Freshman Showcase” is directed by upperclassmen and stars only freshmen. Out of the thirty who auditioned, twelve young actors were cast and then set out on a quick three-week rehearsal process, ending with the performances this Friday and Saturday night.

“My acting teacher from back at home used to tell me that nerves just mean you care,” said Kate Hay, one of the anxious performers making their theatrical debut on a University stage this weekend.

While the showcase will be the first in what will probably be many performances for the actors, it also serves another purpose, according to members of the theatre company.

Emily Anderson, the artistic director of Generic, explained that the annual showcase is more than just a recruitment for new theatre kids. The tight-knit casts of only three to four performers provide a “positive family-like atmosphere early on” for students entering GW.

Ariel Warmflash, co-director of “Cankersores and Other Distractions” with Blake Eisenberg, agreed that college can be somewhat daunting at first with the wide variety of activities students can be tempted to get involved with at the beginning of the year.

“‘Freshman Showcase’ can alleviate some of that stress while giving actors a chance to put themselves out there, meet upperclassmen and kick off their theatrical careers,” Warmflash said.

Many of the actors, often still adjusting to a new city and new friends, agree that having a director who knows the ropes around school is a perk of the show.

“The best part [is] having a director who is an upperclassman and a student,” freshman Kyle Mackie said.

And while the actors spend tech week trying not to forget lines or blocking, the directors agree that the show is really an experience about creating entertaining theatre for everyone involved.

“People always remember ‘Freshman Showcase,’ ” said Rick Westerkamp, a director of the play “Miss Bleep.” “But, it’s more about having fun and putting on a good show.”

The showcase will run at 8 p.m. on both nights in the Lisner Downstage. Tickets are available at the door with a suggested donation of $5.

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