For five days, more than 40 students will combine their efforts from the past month in order to open “Museum,” an absurdist comedy set in the 1970s. The work that goes into opening this play goes far beyond the 18 actors onstage. Students involved in theatre are divided into scenic, costume, lighting and box office crews. Under faculty mentorship, sets are built, costumes sewn, lights hung and tickets sold.
In addition, there are several student designers who have poured their hearts into designing elements of the production. Junior theatre majors Becky Ochoa and Randyl Lynn Getz are the costume and makeup and hair designers, respectively. The set was designed by senior theatre major Tetta Askeland and props by freshman religion major Maren Taylor.
All of their hard work has led to the performances. Actors will set foot on the set, joined by lights and props, to portray approximately forty quirky and unique characters, each specifically costumed in totally groovy get-up.
This production is the collegiate debut performance for these cast members: freshmen Kit Fynaardt, Hunter Vasek, Jeremiah Mitchell and Kevin Griffiths, as well as sophomores Joshua Jackson and Rachel Koertner. The cast also includes sophomores Zach Wilson, Charlie Hubbard, Corrie Hayes, Natalie Blackman and Joy McCaffrey; juniors Chris Miksch, Sara Trease, Hannah Wamhoff and Reghan Harms; and seniors Clayton Ehlers, Mikayla Dehnke and Liz Meier.
On opening night Nov. 10, these outlandish characters will visit a museum on the last day of an exhibit called “The Broken Silence.” Throughout the 70-minute show, each character makes a discovery that changes them as a person. One character, after seeing a particular work of art, exclaims, “I’ll never be the same!”
Audience members are sure to leave with changed views on art and the impact it has on the public as well.
“The concept of normal doesn’t exist in this show,” stage manager Abby Bliss said. “A lot of crazy stuff happens, like painting sniffing and statue licking, but you’ll have to come to the show to see the rest. It will not disappoint in weirdness and beauty.”
Director April Hubbard says absurdist plays like “Museum” are as close to abstract art as drama gets.
“Due to its absurd nature, this play is sure to delight and take imaginations places they’ve never been,” Hubbard said.
Renowned playwright Tina Howe’s “Museum” is one of her best-known works, alongside “Approaching Zanzibar” and “The Art of Dining.”
To describe the setting of “Museum,” the New York Times said, “The gallery becomes a parable of humanity … [in this] comedy of absurdities with a serious message.”
The Northwestern Theatre and Speech Department is excited to produce another play that they hope will both delight the public and encourage audiences to ponder their worldview and beliefs.
“Museum” will be performed from Nov. 10-18 in the Theora England Wilcox Theatre. Tickets are on sale now and are free to students online or at the NW Box Office.