These performances will not take place on stage and will instead be scattered throughout campus in spots that directly represent the sets of the five different scenes.
The students in NewWorks have been working to bring these scenes to life since late February. Freshman Brooke Gustafson said that it started with group readings of submitted works and said that the casual environment of working with peers helped make the process fun rather than stressful.
“It takes away the fear behind perfection and that’s what I think is beautiful about NewWorks,” Gustafson said. “It just puts more work out there and it lets students tell stories that they want to tell and not just the stories that have been produced by Elon.”
Gustafson said that performances produced by independent student groups, rather than the performing arts department, often get to experiment more with different stories, styles and techniques. Set-specific theater, for example, connects the audience with the performance more intimately as everyone is in the space where the story is set rather than watching performers on a stage.
Gustafson is directing two of the five pieces, “Tenured” written by junior Matthew Bobzien and “The Rest of Our Lives” written by senior John Luke Farah.
“Tenured” takes place in a hallway in Center for the Arts and follows the story of two friends who want to report a tenured professor for sexual assault. In contrast, “The Rest of Our Lives” is a comedic piece about a student trying to propose to his girlfriend by Lake Mary Nell and enlisting his friends for help.
Gustafson said that working on these pieces has been an exciting experience, since set-specific productions incorporate the Elon community and campus in ways that the performing arts department usually doesn’t.
She said that the student-driven productions, such as “Tenured” and “The Rest of Our Lives,” allowed her to start directing and working on pieces as a freshman.
“Coming in as a freshman, I had no idea if I would be allowed to or get access to a lot of the opportunities I have this year,” Gustafon said. “I was just really shocked. … It’s just such a fabulous feeling to be involved so early on.”
The performances will be free to attend and while each piece will be performed at a specific location on campus, Gustafon said attendees can meet at Medallion Plaza at 8 p.m. April 23, 24 or 25 and will be redirected to the locations of the five scenes throughout the night.