Acting veterans, newcomers share limelight

The men and women of DramaTech Theatre, who “seek to further performing arts on campus and around Atlanta” are looking for other performance-inclined students. To find them, DramaTech is using new methods to attract fresh members.

As the oldest continuously running theatre in Atlanta, DramaTech has been recruiting newcomers since 1947. In recent years, however, DramaTech members have decided to actively illustrate what they do on a regular basis by holding a week long Open House.

“We’ve been doing this for a while,” said Deech Madhavan, Open House event organizer and sixth-year AE major.

“This is our Freshmen Recruitment. We use this time to show everyone how we operate and what we do,” Madhavan said.

The curtain raised on DramaTech’s Open House, entitled “Back in Blacks,” this year on Aug. 22, complete with food and a tour of the Dean James E. Dull Theatre, the black box theatre of the Robert Ferst Center for the Arts and the current home of DramaTech. This was the beginning of a week full of events, during which members of the DramaTech team sought to inform, educate and participate in numerous theatrical activities.

The festivities began with food, games and introductions on Aug. 22 and 23, but progressed to theatrical endeavors by the middle of the week.

“We start the week with social events to get to know all the new faces. Then we progress to technical workshops and auditions for experiments,” Madhavan said.

These “experiments” are short skits that were performed during the shows held at the end of the last two nights of the Open House, on Aug. 27 and 28.

DramaTech cast, directed and performed all the shows in a 72-hour time frame.

“The cast of the shows includes current upperclassmen, but incoming freshmen are given a chance to audition on the 24th and 25th [of August],” said Greg Kinsey, CS ’07.

“That’s why they are called ‘The Experiments.’ The freshmen audition, and three days later or

less, they perform,” Kinsey said.

Despite the lack of time, many of the freshmen involved felt that the experience was incredibly helpful in making a decision about joining DramaTech.

“I did it to see how the group works,” said Maggie Kellett, first-year AE major and cast member.

“It was difficult to work under the time restraints, but I learned a lot. I am definitely going to be doing another show,” Kellett said.

Others, however, thought that the time restrictions were significantly daunting and saw the effects in the show itself.

“It is obviously very difficult to put a show together in just a few hours, but I thought some of the acts were confusing. The effort they put in was very visible, though. That was a lot of work,” said Frederick Grimm, first-year IE major.

Work is not unfamiliar to members of DramaTech Theatre, as it is a completely student-run theatre in which students can participate in theatrical administration, technical theatre, acting and directing. This student-led operation also offers four theatre production classes for students that are interested.

Along with these offerings, DramaTech also gives the chance for those more adventurous actors to spread their wings and try some improvisation.

‘Let’s Try This!’ (LTT), an improvisation comedy group associated with DramaTech, made a special appearance at the end of each of the Open House shows.

“[The members of LTT] seemed like really friendly, funny guys, on and off the stage. That group is something I would consider getting involved with,” said Michael Smith, first-year EE major.

The group played several improvisation games, with the assistance of the audience. One of the crowd favorites was a game called ‘Head-in-a-Bucket,’ during which at least one member of the troupe was required to keep his head submerged under the water.

“[Head-in-a-Bucket] was pretty funny. When [the troupe members] had to come up for air, they got a bunch of the people watching completely soaked,” said Sam Hunter, first-year BME major.

Along with LTT, which performs around the Institute, DramaTech also has a musical arm, called Variety Tech. This is DramaTech’s musical theatre and variety entertainment ensemble, designed as an outlet for students with acting and musical abilities. Several of the acts performed during the Open House shows were musical, with one duet/dance number and another ensemble performance, complete with guitarist and pianist.

The next DramaTech events include a Black Box Comedy Festival Sept. 15 through 18; Variety Tech/Let’s Try This! Show on Oct. 1 and 2; and the fall performance of The Count of Monte Cristo on Oct. 29 and 30, Nov. 3 through 6 and 10 through 13.