To Choose or Not to Choose: The Theatre’s Tedious Task of Selecting a Season

Aubrey Canfield

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The selection process for the annual season of productions in the theatre department is not a simple pick-and-choose. After sifting through dozens of suggestions and requests comes more tedious work: gaining rights to the productions in question, selecting a dynamic and versatile repertoire, and factoring in the ever-decreasing funding.

The theatre department at CSUN receives over 20 play suggestions throughout the year from students and faculty. A play selection committee consisting of students and faculty has the task of not only reading through the suggested plays, but then discussing which ones would complement each other best during a season.

It is important to have a harmonious balance of genres. The theatre department produces eight productions a year with at least one being in conjunction with the music department. Having a variety of genres not only entices people of many different walks of life to attend, but it also gives the students an opportunity to learn new styles and perhaps to work outside of their respective comfort zones.

Professor Garry Lennon, theatre department faculty and member of the play selection committee, explained that some of the most important things for the committee to consider are: 1) whether the season fits into the department curriculum: 2) if the plays offer challenging and diverse opportunities for the students; and 3) if the shows fit the mission of the department.

Casting is also a weighty consideration when it comes to selection mainly because it is important to have an equal opportunity for male and female actors which, according to Lennon, becomes difficult when producing a Shakespeare piece. “If we do ‘Comedy of Errors,’ for example, we balance that with a heavy female script: ‘The Waiting Room,’” Lennon said.

Every year the theatre department strives to have an engaging series that will appeal to the whole of the student body at CSUN. Weather it’s a toe-tapping musical, a gripping psychological drama, or the studio theatres’ latest experimental piece, all seasons in the theatre department are sure to bring something new and exciting to campus.

This year the campus will see Pulitzer Prize-winning works like “Anna in the Tropics” and “Street Scene”; comedies like “Fate of a Cockroach” and some timely relevance in the production of “Six Characters”. The Fall 2009 season is almost underway; tickets  for the full 2009-2010 season can be obtained by visiting www.csun.edu/theatre or by visiting the box office.

See you at the theatre!