BY LEAH ARROYO
“Alice in Wonderland,” “Murder Mysteries,” and the campus’ gardens all have something in common this semester. They’re each a part of the Emerging Student Theatre Artists’ (ESTA) spring 2020 season. ESTA is the student-run theatre organization on campus where students propose, direct, choreograph, and star in their own productions every semester.
“We take submissions from people in the club. Once all the submissions are in, we then meet as a board. We read through their submissions and we have to see if it’s right for our club. We then decide as a board what’s going to be best for the season and try to schedule it out,” Anna Gwaltney, senior musical theatre major and president of ESTA, said. This detailed selection process is what shapes each unique season of student-produced shows with a variety of plays, musicals and student-written pieces. ESTA also consists of an improvisation troupe within the club called “No Control.”
“I love that we get to provide a place for people outside of the work that they do within the department,” Kevin DiCarlo, freshman musical theatre major, said. “Even people who aren’t in the department get to create, express themselves, and try things they don’t normally get to do.”
DiCarlo said that participating in ESTA productions has changed his life. He starred in the fall 2019 musical “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” He’ll be directing the musical “Alice,” staged in the Rifle Range Theatre on Saturday, Feb. 29 at 2 p.m. and Sunday, March 1 at 8 p.m.
Any student is welcome to join ESTA. Gwaltney described the 2020 season as “bold.” Their upcoming performance of “Murder Mystery” directed by Steele Whitney and Jules Rivera will take place on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. in the Great Hall. The 24-hour play festival is an event where a group of playwrights, directors and actors work together for 24 hours to write, stage and perform plays. It will take place on the Little Theatre Mainstage on Monday, Feb. 17. The first No Control Show of the season will be on Friday, Feb. 14 in the Hillwood Commons Cinema, a time has yet to be announced as of Sunday, Feb. 2. “The Space we Take,” directed by Kylie Brown will take place on Feb. 22 at 9 p.m., and the Secret Garden will take place in the campus outdoor garden at noon on April 25 with a rain date for the following day.
For more information, students can check out the club’s Instagram @esta.liupost