Behind the red curtain

A&E explores various theater groups on Grounds

To act, or not to act: that is the question. The University offers a variety of theater groups for aspiring actors and well-versed thespians alike. This year, A&E goes behind the red curtain to explore the different theater groups available for incoming first years, transfers or returning students to get involved with on Grounds.

Amuse Bouche
Drawing inspiration for their sketches on the spot directly from audience suggestions, Amuse Bouche is U.Va.’s only long-form improv comedy group. The group welcomes anyone to audition, even if they have no prior comedic or acting experience. Auditions are held twice yearly — once in the fall and again in the spring — where auditionees are encouraged to be as zany and fun as the group itself.

Shakespeare on the Lawn
Shakespeare on the Lawn — known better by its acronym, SotL — is a bit contrary in its name; they perform classic Shakespearian works, but they aren’t always on the Lawn. Performances take place twice per year, usually in the Student Activities Building, and are completely free and open to the public. This year’s productions include “Richard II” and “King Lear” in the fall and spring, respectively. All U.Va. undergraduate and graduate students are welcome to audition.

The Whethermen
This eccentric and energy-filled group performs improv comedy at all sorts of events — Rotunda dinners, festivals and a cappella intermissions — in addition to hosting their own shows throughout the semester. Auditions are held once per semester and done in two parts. In the first, auditionees perform scenes with one another, and in the second they improv alongside current Whethermen. Emphasis is placed upon the auditionee being enthusiastic, energetic and, of course, funny.

First Year Players (FYP)
The largest and most well-known student theater group on Grounds, First Year Players recruits only new U.Va. students (first-years or transfers) to act in their plays, though all students are welcome to assist in technical and orchestral roles. Like Shakespeare on the Lawn, FYP puts on one play per semester with the most recent being “Kiss me Kate!” this past spring. Auditions are held twice per year before each play. This year, FYP will be putting on “The Producers”.

Spectrum Theatre
Spectrum Theatre may be best known for their “Voices of the Class” performance — where they craft sketches based on various admissions essays from the new first-year class — but the group also puts on full-length productions and puts up Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” each spring. This year’s play will be “Closer” by Patrick Marber, any and all are welcome to audition.

University Department of Drama
The U.Va. Department of Drama puts on two shows per semester, with upcoming fall productions of “Every Tongue Confess” by Marcus Gardley and “The Rimers of Eldritch” by Lanford Wilson. Auditions for these productions have already passed, but are open to any U.Va. students or members of the community. Auditions consist of two, contrasting one to two minute monologues with accompanying music if trying out for a musical.

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