Going into the woods with childhood fairytales

Lights up on Seton Hill University’s (SHU) first production of the year! Those involved in “Into the Woods” will be making history as the first actors, actresses, and stage crew to put on a musical in SHU’s new Performing Arts Center (PAC). The way the production is being set up and performed is quite a change for everyone involved, as it includes getting used to a new area, having more materials to work with, and a bigger work space.

By Sarah Last

Contributor

Lights up on Seton Hill University’s (SHU) first production of the year! Those involved in “Into the Woods” will be making history as the first actors, actresses, and stage crew to put on a musical in SHU’s new Performing Arts Center (PAC). The way the production is being set up and performed is quite a change for everyone involved, as it includes getting used to a new area, having more materials to work with, and a bigger work space.

“Being a part of the SHUPAC’s first production is a great feeling. It’s really exciting- especially for the upperclassmen who have been waiting for this since we have gotten here,” said Matt Mlynarski, a senior theater performance major.

“Into the Woods” is a musical about different fairy tale characters that many have grown up with, such as Cinderella, Rapunzel, Red Riding Hood and Jack from “Jack and the Beanstalk.” As with all fairy tales, the story begins with the protagonists wishing for their own ‘Happily Ever After’. Though they come from different stories, the audience witnesses all of the characters’ lives and how their destinies become intertwined.

“‘Into the Woods’…because it is a very popular show among the students and was suggested by a few people to the play selection committee. We really wanted to open the theater with a bang and a big show like ‘Into the Woods’ is a great way to do it, and third of all, it is a great chance to showcase a lot of the talent that we have,” Mlynarski said.

Getting used to a new area is an adjustment for everyone, and Jasmine Goodman, a junior and theater design and technology major and assistant lighting designer for the show, offers her opinion on how working a part of crew is different in a new theater.

“Working on electrics crew for ‘Into the Woods’ is different from our previous productions,” said Goodman. “Every production itself is different. There are different people, a different script, and differing elements required. Changing buildings changes the amount of space and what you can do with the space (flying sets and props on stage, etc.).

“SHUPAC, Ryan Theater, specifically, is much bigger than Reeves. This is a blessing, but also a curse, as we have more space to fill. Twice or three times more lighting instruments are needed to light the space which means our budget has to be higher. There is more pressure as well. Bigger space means bigger expectations from the audience.”

From the actor’s perspective, there are also differences to be looked at when switching theaters. Sophomore Matt Leslie, a theater performance major who plays the baker, explained what it’s like to have to get used to the larger space.

“There have been some adjustments we’ve all had to make from working in a theater like Reeves to a bigger space at the SHUPAC,” he said.

“More volume and projecting are obviously needed, but the biggest thing for me is the placement of the audience. In Reeves, the audience looked up at the stage, but in the Ryan Theater, the seats are raked above the stage so they can see more from looking down on the action.

“As an actor, that means you have to be very conscious to look up so they aren’t watching the top of your head for the duration of the show. Nonetheless, the new space is amazing and allows much more creativity and for such a great show, it is ideal to open the new space.”