Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

As a Chappell Player, I am ecstatic about the renovations in the Little Theatre. The updated light fixtures illuminate the seat cushions in the house so they exude that familiar “We are St. John’s” shade of red. They feel pleasant on the posterior, but most of my time is spent in the booth, onstage, or on the floor. The plush carpet welcomes my body when I exhaustedly lay on it at 2 am after helping to erect a set. Sometimes I wish theatrical productions were not such heavy burdens to put on, but when I see the fruits of our labor onstage, I cannot help but feel a sense of pride.

The Chappell Players spend enough time in the Little Theatre to be classified as tenants. Our rent is paid with the blood, sweat, and tears we pour into our shows. Every day we are here in our home for one reason or another. We had always considered refurbishing our upholstery and laying a new carpet; our benefactor, St. John’s, has made that dream come true. The house is not the only area that was redecorated, however.

Strange movie posters now line the walls of the lobby. None of the Chappell Players’ E-Board members know from whence they came, and none of us have seen any of these movies. Like the “Chicago Black Sox” in the Field of Dreams, they came from seemingly nowhere (a movie reference… how appropriate).

As stated in the November 8th edition of the Torch, the Little Theatre flaunts its silver screen on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Consequently, the Chappell Players are out on the street.

Occasionally a Good Samaritan will inquire about our landlord troubles.
“Why are you bundled up out here?” he will ask.
“Ricky Bobby kicked us out,” we sing our response in three-part harmony.

Theatrical productions are not spontaneous; they are well-planned and well-rehearsed. Unlike DVDs, plays require more than an opposable thumb to put on. When the theatre group is removed from its home, it is forced to rehearse in any space available. Sometimes there are no available spaces, in which case the Chappell Players overpay our rent in tears, sweat, and sometimes blood.

The renovations in the Little Theatre act as a double-edged sword. While the revamped house helps our performances by putting booties in the seats, it also draws crowds from every walk of campus life. Upon discovering this “new” theatre, these crowds hold events and bring food, generously leaving the Chappell Players (and the Chihuahua-sized roaches) their scraps. Honestly, tomato slices taste better when they have glued themselves to the Little Theatre stage for a few hours.

Sometimes guests of the Little Theatre will leave more favorable gifts than food. One group left an ice sculpture. It wasn’t very impressive though; to me it just looked like a wet puddle on the carpet.

In regards to the Little Theatre renovations, Damien Duchamp has been quoted as saying, “Part of the reason for these improvements was to have something that could function as a movie theatre on campus.” There is also talk of purchasing a popcorn machine and having weekend showings of movies. What does this mean for the Chappell Players? How can we tenants put on shows after we have been evicted?

I enjoy movies as much as the next person. I might even attend a movie night one Tuesday or Wednesday if I can find the time. After all, everyone is a hypocrite. However, I also enjoy live shows, and I understand that they must be created and perfected at rehearsals before they can be performed. Shows like Seussical the Musical are not like the movie posters in the lobby; they do not come out of nowhere. For those of you who missed Seussical, maybe you can find it on DVD and play it some Wednesday night in the Little (Movie) Theatre.
Mike Wirsch
College of Professional Studies