UTC reduces number of shows next year
On Monday, March 14, The Undergraduate Theater Collective voted unanimously in favor of a short-term measure that will change the number of main-stage theater performances that the collective will put on next year. For the 2016 to 2017 theater season, the collective will put on two shows per semester in the Shapiro Campus Center Theater. This does not include the annual 24-Hour Musical, “Quickies” and “Brandeis Cares.” In the email to the UTC Listserv, communications director for the collective, Gabby Lamm ’17, noted that the change is due to the collective’s “current shortage of resources and feelings of exclusivity between clubs.”
Next fall will see shows from Tympanium Euphorium and Brandeis Ensemble Theater on the SCC stage, and the spring will see shows from Brandeis Players and Hillel Theater Group. With this plan, every group that is part of the UTC will have a main stage production. Groups will still be able to put on as many “second-stage productions” — productions not on the Shapiro Campus Center stage — as they want. “During their off-semesters, each group will strive to sponsor shows in alternative spaces on campus that are conducive to creative theatrical productions,” Gabby Lamm ’17 wrote in an email to the UTC listserv, explaining the plan for next year. “Several of these spaces have already been reserved for the next two semesters to ensure guaranteed performance spaces.”
In an interview with the Justice, Talya Shatzky ’19, secretary of Behind the Scenes and one of the members who voted on the measure, says that the collective has been talking for a while about restructuring the group. She noted that the change is a result of a recent shortage of tech staff and the toll it takes when staffers have to work multiple shows back to back.
“Basically, the amount of techies per show or per UTC season has dramatically decreased in the past few semesters,” she said. “So we have people working on all four shows all in a row, which they just sacrifice so much to help. And they love doing what they’re doing, but it just kind of kills them.”
Shatzky comes to the issue from a tech perspective — Behind the Scenes is a new group that offers its services to any UTC group that needs technical help. The club was formed last semester. She believes that having fewer shows will allow more time for students to learn the basics of theater tech. With fewer productions, groups will be able to have longer tech weeks — shows will not be back-to-back — and students new to theater tech will have more time to learn on the job.
She also believes that the new plan will benefit the quality of second-stage productions. She believes that “not enough concern has been made toward making those second- stage productions the best that they can be.”
There were a few proposals in discussion — one of which was to dissolve the individual clubs in the UTC and combine them under a large umbrella organization.
Both Shatzky and Madeline Lenchner ’17, Secretary of Brandeis Players, said that there was some resistance to this proposal — members are very connected and committed to their respective clubs within the collective.
Lenchner says that the long-term solution may in fact reflect this vision, and she is in favor of it.
“Hopefully in the future it would just transition into being just a nice, big [conglomerate] theater group,” she said.
But what happens with the short-term plan remains to be seen. “We’ll see — maybe we’ll decide that it’s too few shows because, on the tech side of things, the last-minute getting stuff together is always like the big fun rush,” said Lenchner.
Lamm, UTC Coordinator Noah Suchoff ’16, Hillel Theater Group e-board member Jess Plante ’16 and Tympanium Euphorim e-board member Tres Fimmano ’18 refused to comment. UTC club e-board members Harry Furer ’17, Sarai Warsoff ’16, Emily Galloway ’18, Zach Marlin ’16, Carly Chernomorets ’16, Gabi Scheinthal ’16, Sivan Ertel ’18, Jason Kasman ’16, Courtney Comart ’16 and Zak Kolar ’18 did not respond by press time.
Correction: The headline of this article was changed, after the paper went to press, for accuracy.