Female producers and directors lead campus theater groups
For women in arts and entertainment, 2018 has been a year of change and of demanding proper representation in a male-dominated industry. In the Washington University student theater community, 2018 is the year women step up and slay. All three student theater groups on campus have female presidents and directors this semester.
The three presidents, seniors Kendall Carroll of All Student Theatre, MK Mollman of Cast n’ Crew and Jolie Ho of Thyrsus, all made their Washington University theater debuts together their freshman year in Cast n’ Crew’s production of “Zombie Prom.” For these three women, getting to work together as seniors in a leadership capacity is a fulfilling full-circle end to their Wash. U. theater careers.
“It’s great to be doing this last big thing together before we graduate,” Carroll said.
“It’s just been so cool to see [Ho and Carroll] embrace all their talents and create such an impact in their groups,” Mollman said.
Senior All Student Theatre Director Kate Biddle, junior Cast n’ Crew Director Maddie Seibold and junior Thyrsus Director Sabrina Odigie are also looking forward to the opportunity to work together on this all-female leadership roster.
“When we were all getting ready for auditions, we were like, ‘look at this group of women, that’s so awesome that we’re all here and bringing our ideas to the stage,’” Seibold said. “It’s such a perfect time for it to come.”
Check out what these six women will be bringing to the stage this spring:
All Student Theatre (AST): President Kendall Carroll and Director Kate Biddle
“Noises Off” by Michael Frayn: April 12-15
AST’s spring show, “Noises Off,” is a British farce, structured as a show within a show. According to Biddle, “it’s three acts of utter chaos.” The show will be staged in Brookings Quadrangle, which poses a structural challenge since most companies pull off the physical stylistic demand of “Noises Off” by building a turntable into the set. The second act of the show is actually meant to be seen from behind, so instead of using a turntable, Biddle plans on moving the audience. “Noises Off” promises to be a fun, interactive theater experience. Under the leadership of experienced carpenter and set designer Carroll and devoted actress and director Biddle, the show will certainly deliver both stylistically and creatively.
Cast n’ Crew: President MK Mollman and Director Maddie Seibold
“The Mousetrap” by Agatha Christie: April 6-8
Seibold is excited to make her directing debut this spring with Cast n’ Crew’s “The Mousetrap,” which holds the record for longest initial run for a play, having been in London’s West End since the show opened in 1952. “The Mousetrap” was written by Agatha Christie, who Seibold describes as “the queen of murder mystery.” The show is a British melodrama set in the 1950s featuring a famous twist ending. Mollman and Seibold are both proud to feature the work of a female playwright this semester.
“Last year was the first time we did something with a female playwright and now we’re continuing that tradition with Agatha Christie,” Mollman said. “There are just so many female writers with great work that don’t get the recognition they deserve.”
According to Mollman, Seibold has a “really cool vision” for the show. Don’t miss out on their unique take on a show that has truly stood the test of time.
Thyrsus: President Jolie Ho and Director Sabrina Odigie
“The Bald Soprano” by Eugene Ionesco: April 20-22
Thyrsus, Washington University’s experimental and non-traditional theater group, will be staging Ionesco’s “The Bald Soprano” this spring under Director Odigie. “The Bald Soprano” is a (debatably) classic absurdist show featuring the style of a continuous loop accompanied by a genius script riddled with non sequiturs and meaningless banter. In true Thyrsus style, they chose a show that pushes the boundaries of traditionalist theater.
Thyrsus also has their signature event, “White Rabbit, Red Rabbit” in two weeks. In this performance, an actor goes on stage where they’re met with a sealed script that they and the Thyrsus board have never seen. The challenge is to perform the never-before-seen script on the spot.
For Ho, theater is a truly inclusive community at Wash. U. and she hopes to perpetuate that sentiment during her presidency.
“We want people to enjoy making theater with us,” Ho said. “We just want everyone to have fun.”
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to reflect the accurate date of Thyrsus’ show.