Acting Out


Students wait to audition in the Briggs Theatre. About 40 people came out to audition for the festival of seven plays set to kick off the fall season. Photo by Britney McIntosh

Some students wet their pants. Others side-swipe bears.

Funny and embarrassing stories like these filled the Briggs Theater in the Fine Arts Building Thursday night as more than 40 students auditioned for the festival of seven plays set to kick off the fall theater season.

Each student that auditioned for a part in one of the upcoming plays had only a few minutes to make an impression on the directors and stage managers by telling a story.  Directors and managers were regaled with tales about everything from lost love to major accidents.

“My grandpa thought it would be a great idea to drive off,” psychology sophomore Britany Geoghegan said. “And there I was, left on the side of the road peeing, with my pants around my ankles.”

After about two hours of a steady stream of auditions, the four directors broke to decide who they wanted to call back for interviews.

“Remember, give as many people a chance as you can,” said Nancy Jones, chair of the Theatre Department, as she left the directors for the evening. “Even if they are just third spear carrier from the left, get them involved. Keep the love alive!”

About every other year, the Theatre Department starts the fall semester with a festival to celebrate student work, which means that plays are written, directed and acted out entirely by students, Jones said. She said festivals like these raise the interest, enthusiasm and passion of the students.

This fall, however, the festival is slightly different because of the magnitude and fast production of the plays, said stage manager and theatre senior Lindsay Warnick. Each of the four directors only has two weeks to cast and produce their plays before opening night on Sept. 9.

“The next two weeks we are going to be busting it out of the park,”director and theatre junior Michael Baird said.  “I’ll be having rehearsals for hours every day. It’s going to be so hectic but at the end, I know it will be worthwhile.”

Theatre freshman Dominique Luster, who will be doing the lighting for all seven of the plays, said it will be a challenging but fun way to balance her first semester of college.

“I’m really excited for this festival,” Luster said. “I know that the workloads going to be a lot, and I’m going to stay really busy, but I’m excited.”

In addition to celebrating the hard work of veteran theatre students, it is also meant to reach out to incoming freshmen. With the large amount of plays and parts to fill, they have a much better chance of being casted in a role, said theatre senior Alex Koehl, who was also auditioning.

“It is important to get them involved and show them that student work really does get showcased here,” Koehl said.  “It will be really good for them to pace with us and to see how we work as well.”

It is important for the incoming freshmen to see that students of all grades and experience levels have to audition the same way as equals,  Koehl said.

Theatre freshman Chandler Hostin was one of many freshmen to come out for auditions, and he said he’s anxious to start building his theatre skills early in his college career.

“I love to do theatre so I’m just trying to get involved as quickly as I can,” Hostin said.

Baird said the directors were shocked with the turnout of students, both new and veteran.

“With the turnout we had it was very easy to put people in every place we needed them,” Baird said. “We didn’t have to fight for people like we usually do, and we had someone for every role.”

Students who throw their inhibitions aside after just being on UK’s campus for a week, stand alone on a stage and proclaim to a room full of strangers that they talk to squirrels or had dollar bills shoved in their bra, are the people who really want to be involved, Jones said. Those are the students that need to be in the program, she said.

“If you are truly passionate about something, you will excel. You will be driven by your passion and your zeal,” Jones said. “And now is a perfect time for us to find those who are truly passionate.”

Whether they hit a black bear or pooped their pants at a bar, these student actors have used their life hiccups to find a place for their passion in this semester’s festival of student work.