The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Comedy Kicks Off the Theatre Year

While most students were taking it easy and getting used to their classes, the St. John’s University Alpha Psi Omega National Theatre Honor Society was in preparation for a performance.

Last Friday and Saturday, the SJU theatre season opened up with two performances of the Upsilon Chi Cast produced show “All in the Timing,” a set of six comedy acts by David Ives put on with the help of the Chappell Players.

Performing a show during Welcome Back Week is not something that the theatre group has typically done in the past. “This is the first time the theatre group has done a Welcome Week performance, which is probably another reason it was more difficult to coordinate,” said Alpha Psi Omega president Elizabeth Hounsell. “We had no precedent to follow, but this was something that I had wanted our group to do for sometime now, so we decided to be the first.”

“We started planning and preproduction on the show in mid-July, having selected the plays in May and had them approved in June,” said William Cusick, director of the show and president of the Chappell Players. “Casting took place in July, and rehearsals began August 1.”

For this show, several graduates, who are Alpha Psi Omega members, returned to take part in the show. Alumni who are members of the theatre honor society are allowed to return to work on any production that is done by Alpha Psi Omega.

Not only does this help out the theatre group, but it also gives graduates a chance to return to something that they love to do. “I got involved with the show when Bill Cusick, the director, called me up to offer me my roles, which I accepted,” said 2002 graduate Gary McComiskey. “I’ve always enjoyed acting on the Little Theatre stage. It is a second home to me.”

“I’ve been involved with the theatre group at St. John’s since I was a freshman,” said David Virzera, who graduated last year and is now an SJU graduate student. “I was involved with a lot of productions and was inducted into the Alpha Psi Omega Theatre Honor Society. Being a member of that enabled me to come back after graduating to be involved in this production because it was sponsored by Alpha Psi.”

Even though there was not a lot of time to advertise the comedy show, it still brought in an estimated 100 people each night. “I think that the show [went] very, very well,” said Sebastian Scott, once of the actors in the show who is also an Alpha Psi Omega member. “We always want to see more bodies in the seats come show time, but the most important thing is that people laughed and enjoyed the show. A good audience doesn’t necessarily mean a huge audience. The performances were excellent, and I feel very lucky to have had the chance to act with my fellow cast members.”

“Everyone had a good time putting the shows together and I believe the audience enjoyed it. I thought the turnout was good and so was the audience response,” Virzera said. “This was the first time we put on shows like these here, so we didn’t know what to expect, but there was a lot of positive feedback.”

This only marks the beginning of year that will have plenty of opportunities for students to see the work by Alpha Psi Omega and the Chappell Players. Other scheduled shows will include “Othello,” beginning on October 18, “Children of the 80’s,” “Fantastique,” “The Emperor’s New Clothes” and “Pippin,” as well as original student work.

“Our hopes as far as the Chappell Players is concerned involved educating those interested in being a part of theatre in every way possible and getting more students interested in our work onstage,” Cusick said. “This executive board is putting process before product in that the need to work together in a healthy collaborative atmosphere takes precedence over a big seller wherein the cast and crew can’t wait until it’s over. As far as Alpha Psi Omega is concerned, we’re shooting to become a big organization, producing quality theatre for all students.”

“I am so thrilled with our up-coming season. The e-boards of both Alpha Psi Omega and the Chappell Players set out to select a wide variety of productions that would consist of many different forms of theatre,” said Hounsell. “We’ve packed our season to its full capacity and my biggest hope is that we’ll look out into the audience this year and see more student faces. Our work is geared towards our generation, and we really feel that they would enjoy our productions.”

Anyone who is interested in becoming a member of the theatre group can swing by the Little Theatre, call the group at x6199 or e-mail them at [email protected].

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