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Theater auditions postponed

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On Nov. 16, auditions for the upcoming theater production, “Lonely Planet” written by Steve Dietz, were to be held. However, due to a variety of factors, the auditions were postponed until spring.

During the first week back in the spring semester, students interested in gaining a part in “Lonely Planet” will have the opportunity to audition, as they will join students auditioning for various other theater productions in a larger-scale audition.

The auditions were postponed until the spring semester for many reasons. Senior and Director of “Lonely Planet,” Mason Morrill, said he got the information out to students later than he had hoped which led to some confusion among students. In addition to this, the auditions were to take place the week before finals, and Morrill recognized the exhaustion and burnout students were facing. 

Morrill feared there was a lack of engagement and wanted to postpone it so students had more time to prepare and more excitement about the semester. The growing number of COVID cases also forced the auditions to move to a virtual platform anyway, so Morrill felt that postponing was in the best interest of the students and the production. 

The reason the auditions were originally intended to be the week before finals was to give the selected actors a chance to utilize the long break and memorize the script before rehearsals start next semester.  

This particular production is a two-cast production. This means the actors will have significantly more to memorize than in a typical production. Part of the reason Morrill decided on this production was because it would be feasible to keep cast and crew safe, as it is relatively small in size. Morrill also thought this idea was relevant to the pandemic.

“The play is really about the monuments and memorials that we leave behind when we die, as well as the people that are left to deal with those empty chairs,” Morrill said. 

While Morrill has directed smaller shows in the past, this is his first show on Doane’s mainstage. Given this is his first large-scale production and all of the unknown, there was stress involved, especially last spring, when Morrill found out he would have the opportunity to direct on the mainstage.

With all of the unknowns, Morrill has to account for all types of situations.

“I’m trying to take the unknowns as they come to me,” Morrill said.

He is optimistic to be able to have the production with some form of live audience; however, he is hopeful just to get to present his show.

“It would take Doane shutting down and going entirely online to stop this show from happening,” Morrill said.

As long as next semester is in-person, Morrill said he looks forward to getting to direct this production. He said he has always loved “telling stories,” and there is something “fulfilling (in) telling an entire story” rather than just being part of one. 

Over the break, Morrill will work with production and design to work on that aspect of the production. He will then hold auditions once school is back in session, and rehearsals will begin shortly after. 

In whatever way the audience has to view the show, Morrill said he hopes they gain something from it. 

“I’m just hoping that this is a show that lands with people. I hope that people come away with an appreciation for those we potentially leave behind and, specifically, what we leave behind and what we want our memory to say,” Morrill said.