By Karis Fuller
Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor
The freshmen of the Post Theatre Company (PTC) will take the stage for their debut performances from April 12 to 15. With 55 theater and musical theatre majors, the largest freshman class to date, the showcase has been divided into two shows, “When We Arrive,” directed by David Apichell, adjunct professor of theatre arts, and “Hide and Seek,” directed by Lauren Reinhard, professor in the department of theatre and LIU Post alumna. Each of the pieces is an anthology of eight short plays, ensuring stage time for every actor. Although the cast is composed of first-years, upperclassmen fill the productions’ technical positions.
The audition process took place at the beginning of December and roles were cast after the winter recess. The students had to prepare a one-minute monologue that best highlights their talents. Reinhard and Apichell, along withtheir assistant directors, then cast the plays. The cast rehearsed for just over three weeks.
This is Reinhard’s seventh year directingthe freshman showcase. Performing several short plays this year helped to “make [the show] a bit juicer” and “gave people more to work on,”Reinhard said. Her concept behind “Hide and Seek” is both literal and gurative. “[It’s] what we hide and what we are looking for,” she said. Having done this for several years, finding eight new 10-minute plays can be difficult, “Some are throwbacks to plays I’ve done many years ago,” Reinhard said. Investing in a couple new “10-minute play books” also aided her search. Reinhard is incorporating skills the first years are developing in classes with the closing of the show being entirely movement-based.
The closing is close to the hearts of Reinhard and her cast. The students opened up to the director about the things they are hiding and searching for. “It’s always beautiful and humbling how personal they get,” Reinhard said. She took the words of the students and constructed a physical expression with the help of junior musical theatre majors Tiffany Alderson and Griffin Lockette.
First-time assistant director and junior acting major Aaron Cooper, raved about the experience working with Reinhard and the first years. “It’s like looking in the mirror in a way,” Cooper said, as he reflected on the two years that have passed since his freshmen showcase. “I’m really excited to see them when they are in my position,” he said. “They are only starting off their journey here, and they are really great at it.” Hermly believes from watching his cast mature, and from his own experiences, that the most growth results from the freshmen showcase.
Freshman acting major Julia Rivera, who is starring in “Hippy Van Gumdrop,” is prepared for her debut on the Little Theatre stage. “Working with Reinhard is amazing,” she said, “I amso honored to be here.”
Freshman musical theatre major Jack Mannion is starring in “Slop Culture.” “Every minute counts,” he said about the short 10-minute plays. He commended the group that has been created among his peers. “I feel I have a sense of community,” Mannion said, “I can’t wait to spend time on stage with these people.” Mannion has learned a lot about his limits along with how to push himself out of his comfort zone.
This is the first year Apichell is directingthe freshmen showcase at Post. He discussed his intentions for the play and what he planned to do with the approximately two hours and 10 minutes that his cast commands the stage. “[In] theatre lives we are travelers; that’s what these guys are representing,” Apichell said. The overarching themes tying the eight plays together, he said, are love, loss, denial, and standing up for one’s self.
The plays were selected carefully to match the demographic of the 23 actors. Apichell incorporated all that the first year students have been learning, from the physical displays of the opening and closing number, to the realistic acting of the 10-minute plays. “We all go on journeys, and when you get to your destination, what’s next?” Apichell said.
Nicole Harley, junior musical theater and arts management major, is a first time assistant director for “When We Arrive.” “This is the first performance that initiates [the freshmen] into the PTC family,” Harley said. She and Apichell directed the vision behind the first-years’debut.
Freshman Raechel Johnsky, formerly anacting major, is switching to musical theatre as a result of this production. She is starring in “Now We Are Really Getting Somewhere” and has found a growing confidence and bond due to those around her. Like Mannion, she also values the community of PTC. Along with the excitement of taking the stage for the first time, Johnsky has a clear aim with her performance. “My goal is to make the audience feel something,” Johnsky said, “Even if it’s just one person.”
Freshman musical theatre and political science major Josie Moyer plays the bully-like sister, Sheridan, in “Twenty-Three Hundred Hours.” Moyer is grateful for being surrounded by such great peers and professionals. “The first time we sat here [in the dance studio] and watched each others’ work, it was magical,” Moyer said.
“Hide and Seek” and “When We Arrive” will takes place on the Little Theatre mains tage from April 12 to 15. Performances of each show are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Sunday with 3 p.m. matinees on Saturday April 14 and Sunday April 15. Tickets are available at the Little Theatre box office or online at www.tix55.com/ptc700. General admission is $15, students are $10 and seniors are $12.