Students take control with Red Door Play Festival

From page to stage, Muhlenberg’s Red Doors will be featuring a full lineup of student-directed, produced, stage managed and acted shows from Nov. 17-19. The Red Doors will feature 11 plays in this semester’s installment.

However, unlike the Muhlenberg mainstage performances, Red Doors bring a more intimate feel to the theatre community by showcasing the theatre performances in the Red Door Lounge in the basement of Seegers Union. Katherine McGuire ‘20 has been featured in two Red Doors shows, one in the fall and one in the spring, and has been promoted to being a coordinator for the event. McGuire noted that the laid- back feel of the audition sets the vibe for the whole showcase.

“We have a wide range of different shows: we have comedy, we have drama, we have mystery.”

“The audition process is in front of a panel. All of the directors sit in a circle and an auditioner comes in and they have one minute to say a monologue and two minutes to do an immediate call-back from the directors. So, directors will be like, ‘Oh, can you say it this way or can you read this side [of a character] for me.’”

The audition process is precisely three minutes, which helps with the speed and ensuring every actor has a fair chance of getting equal acting time throughout the audition. This year, there were 75 actors that auditioned, and 35 were cast. Most actors in the Red Doors are freshmen and sophomores.

McGuire’s role is not a task for the weak. She has to select all the shows, facilitate the auditions and help check in on rehearsals, schedule rehearsal times and book spaces, run tech week, talk to actors and directors and run the shows throughout the weekend. McGuire’s other duty involves purchasing the rights for the shows that are not student-written. Nine out of the 11 shows are written by professional playwrights and two are student-written. For the student-written shows, it is the first time they will ever be performed in front of an audience. Excitingly enough, one of the student written shows is being directed by Daliah Bernstein ‘21.

“Red Doors is a great place to gain experience,” said McGuire. Students apply to be directors or stage managers. “There are no prerequisites, you don’t need to have anything before. You don’t have to have been a stage manager before or have acting experience.”

The shows vary in length from 10 to 35 minutes, with each one being extremely different from the last. With its coffee-house like setting and vibe, there is no doubt the play festival will be a hit amongst Muhlenberg students. “We have a wide range of different shows: we have comedy, we have drama, we have mystery. It’s a good range of different types of shows, I have really great directors and the casting always blows my mind,” said McGuire. McGuire also notes how the array of talent at Muhlenberg, simply from sitting in on the auditions, is unforeseeable. “Between the combination of really great works, really great actors and really great directors, I think it’s going to be extremely successful.”

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