c/o CFA Website

c/o CFA Website

You can’t spell Wesleyan University without arts. While students are still braving the winter cold, the campus arts scene is already springing back into action. In today’s issue, we are thrilled to showcase all the exciting theater events happening this semester! 

To start the new year off, the student theater group Spike Tape is bringing back its semesterly tradition known as One Day Plays. On the evening of Friday, Feb. 2, a group of student playwrights will get together in the Patricelli ’92 Theater to craft short one-act plays that will be blocked within the next 24 hours and performed on the evening of Saturday, Feb. 3. Any student with a creative soul is welcome to sign up for the fun challenge as writers, directors, and actors. These plays are free to attend. 

The following week, “Scapegoat Garden: Liturgy|Order|Bridge” will be performed in the Center for the Arts (CFA) Theater on Friday, Feb. 9 at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 10 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Directed by Deborah Goffe MA ’19, the dance show blurs the line between audience and performance and focuses on Black cultural and religious life. Additionally, a staged reading of “The Elephant is Very Like”—a one-act play that explores the complications of language and the experiences of a woman who can only say words she’s already heard—will be held at the Theater Department Studio on Thursday, Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. The reading is produced by returning alumna Malaika Fernandes ’23 and will be a part of the Fries Center for Global Studies Power of Language Week. Students are encouraged to stay after the show for a conversation with the artists involved. Tickets for “Scapegoat Garden” are $8 for students, $15 for alumni, faculty, and staff, and $20 for the general public. “The Elephant is Very Like” is free to attend. 

As spring is high season for theses and capstones along with beautiful flowers and rain showers, you should be sure to keep an eye out for three incredible theater capstones that will be staged in late February and early March. Mo Andres ’24 is performing in a production of “Every Brilliant Thing” in the Downey House Lounge. “Every Brilliant Thing,” written by Duncan MacMillan, follows a student learning to find joy in the small things around them following their mother’s first suicide attempt and aims to explore how to talk about suicide. Kiera Moran ’24 has written the play “Likewise” and will be performing it in the Theater Department Studio. Finally, Nina Jakobson ’24 is directing a production of “Small Mouth Sounds” in the Patricelli ’92 Theater. The play focuses on the attendees of a meditation retreat in New England and the challenges they learn to confront during it. All performances will take place on Feb. 29, Mar. 1, and Mar. 2 at 7:00 p.m.—except “Small Mouth Sounds,” which will take place on the same days at 8:30 p.m.—and are free to attend.

Collaboration has always been key to theater-making at Wesleyan, and “imagin/ing” by Alisha Simmons ’24 showcases just that. Created in collaboration with Simmons’ ensemble. A senior project in devised ensemble collaboration, “imagin/ing” is an immersive exploration into how performance art can serve as a transformative tool on the journey towards QTBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, People of Color) liberation. Offering three free performances at Russell House on Thursday, April 4, Friday, April 5, and Saturday, April 6 at 7 p.m., Simmons and their ensemble seek to find out what it means to imagine one’s own freedom and what that imagination looks like.

In April, seniors who are aspiring playwrights will have their own original plays read on stage for the first time during the Spring Festival of New Theater Works, which takes place on Friday, April 12 at 6:00 p.m. and Saturday, April 13 at 7:00 p.m. in the Ring Family Performing Arts Hall. Vincent Langan ’24 has written “Oh, Muffy!” a lighthearted comedy following prep school parents and their dread of diversity, equity, and inclusion policies. Sonia Guan ’24 also will present her original musical, “Find the Moon,” which follows a terminally ill writer and the characters in his story, exploring the lines between fantasy and reality and the relationship between creativity and suffering. These performances are free to attend. 

Spike Tape is continuing the wave of original student works with a packed calendar of performances in April, beginning with “Dear Mommy” in the West College (WestCo) Café on April 5 and April 6. Written by Kyra Kushner ’24, the play follows Riley and her struggles caring for her dying mother in her childhood home, and all of the different ways that her mother shaped her life, for better or for worse. All Spike Tape performances are free to attend. 

Moving on from Riley’s mommy issues, Eliza Bender ’24 and Sarah Linsly ’24 bring their original musical “Camp!” to WestCo Café on Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13. Following a tense clash between an all-girls Jewish summer camp and an all-girls Evangelical summer camp, the new play blends girlhood, gayhood, and Judeo-Christian values with emotional ballads and campfire classics. 

During Spike Tape’s One-Act Festival, two performances will take place from Friday, April 19 to Saturday, April 20 in Russell House; “Scouts” and “Prestidigitation.” “Scouts” was written by Susie Nakash ’26 is a dark comedy centered around five teenage girls and the harsh realities of being a teenager. “Prestidigitation”—which some of you may have recognized as the name of a “Dungeons & Dragons” (DND) spell—was written by Phoebe Levitsky ’26 and uses the language of DND sessions to explore the dynamics of a friendship group preparing to graduate high school. 

Lincoln Turner ’25 has also written his own musical—“The Mountain Morgan Climbed”—which will be performed in the Patricelli ’92 Theater on April 26 and April 27. The titular Morgan is a shy aspiring writer who works with their crush and friends to create a record label and grapples with the consequences of success and how it changes their life. On the same weekend, “Gloria” will be performed in the WestCo Café, the only Spike Tape performance this semester not written by a University student, and will be directed by Langan and Hadassa Garfein ’24. 

As spring passes and the heat takes over, young lovers and amateur actors find themselves lost in a crazy summer dream. Having enlisted the help of forest fairies, the University theater department will be putting on performances of William Shakespeare’s comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in the CFA Theater on Thursday, May 2 at 8:00 p.m., Friday, May 3 at 8:00 p.m., and Saturday, May 4 at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. A 16th-century classic with a uniquely Wesleyan twist, this new production will explore how political turmoil, coming-of-age, and the fantastic elide. Tickets cost $8 for the general public and $5 for students, senior citizens, faculty, staff, alumni, students, and youth under 18.

Finally, students in Professor of Theater Ronald S. Jenkins’ course “Gospel, Rap, and Social Justice” (THEA143) will put on a culminating performance on Tuesday, May 7 at 7:00 p.m. in Ring Family Performing Arts Hall to wrap up a whirlwind semester of amazing theatrical productions. The event is free for the public to attend.

Stay tuned for the coming Argus issues as the dance, music, film, and visual arts departments on campus all have lots in store for the spring!

Sida Chu can be reached at schu@wesleyan.edu.

Caleb Henning can be reached at chenning@wesleyan.edu