Over the past several days, eye-catching posters that merit a second glance have been appearing all over campus advertising “Gratitudo: A walk, a brain and other things,” an upcoming show that has been produced and will be performed by members of Northwestern’s Senior Theatre Ensemble (STE).
The STE is comprised of ten seniors (Crystal Brown, Heather Bullis, Solomon Davis, Hannah Dutt, Kelcee Foss, Gabe Franken, Heidi Friesen, Sara Harmon, Jillian McCall, Jill Vaughn) who have undertaken the responsibility of creating an original play—an enterprise which theatre professor and project faculty advisor Karen Barker said has kept the students occupied for many months. Barker summarized the play, saying it is “initially about the education process [but] ultimately about figuring out who you are.”
Davis, the project’s director, elaborated on the students’ vision for the show, “As a team we decided to do something original. The initial idea was to send out emails to playwrights, professors, students and friends asking them to. . . comment on institutionalized education. We . . . got lots and lots of stuff back.”
According to Davis, after the students had received material from outside sources, an “editing team was assembled and a script was made.”
The end result of the script writing process, however, did not closely resemble the students’ preliminary plans.
“We like to call our process ‘organic,’” Davis said, “which for us means that we all need to roll with the punches, collaborate and let the project develop naturally. And that is what happened,” he said.
As a result of the major changes the script went through, the ensemble’s initial goal of commenting on education was slightly altered. “[The show] has become a piece about changes in perspective. It’s got a lot of meat [to] it . . . it’s potentially about a lot of things . . . which is why the title is ‘Gratitudo: A walk, a brain and other things.’”
“Gratitudo is Latin for gratitude—gratitude to all who replied to the emails. We didn’t end up using much of their submissions but it was a huge part of the project’s organic process,” Davis said.
The result of this “organic process,” can be seen on four consecutive evenings in the Black Box Theatre at the newly opened DeWitt Theatre Arts Center, beginning Wednesday, Feb., 18, and ending Saturday, Feb. 21. All shows begin at 8:00 p.m., admission is $5 per person and free for NW students.