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Sushi Theatre Brings A Different Menu
February 27, 2007

A different kind of theatre will be on the menu next week at Calvin College when Student Playwrights presents the 2007 version of SUSHI theatre.

SUSHI is not an acronym, but a name that invokes “theatre in the raw,” say the leaders of the Student Playwrights.

SUSHI TheatreAudiences will be able to find out what that means on March 9 and March 10, at 8 pm in the Lab Theatre at the college. Admission for both performances is free.

So what are some of the hallmarks of SUSHI Theatre at Calvin?

“You don’t go over-the top with costumes or set design,” explains Tonya Ross, a senior theatre and psychology major and co-leader of Student Playwrights. “We basically concentrate on the pieces and getting them set up to run. It’s more about the show and less about the add-ons.”

SUSHI Theatre is also succinct.

The upcoming shows will consist of half a dozen plays of five to 15 minutes each -- all written, directed and acted by Calvin students and alumni.

The process began in November when the Student Playwrights accepted submissions of one-act plays (including plays authored by staff and faculty).

“Once we got plays submitted we had to get together with our board and read them over and decide which ones we wanted to include in our SUSHI production,” says Kaje Nelsen, a senior theatre major and Student Playwrights co-leader.

Following Thanksgiving break, the group chooses directors for the plays. The scripts went home with their directors over Christmas break, to allow them to prepare the plays for performance.

In early February auditions were held and then rehearsals began.

It's a lot of work to get ready, says Nelsen, but also worth it, for both the cast and staff and the audience.

“We packed the house the past couple of years,” Nelsen notes.

Since the 1980s, both SUSHI Theatre and 24 Hour Theatre have been popular and perennial events for the Student Playwrights, a group which “seeks to create a Christian environment to facilitate theatrical expression by students.”

Says Ross: “It’s a great opportunity, especially for the underclassmen. This is a great way for them to get some stage experience.”

Nelsen adds that the events also are a relatively low commitment.

"Theatre at Calvin has a tendency to take you away if you’re not careful," she says, adding that major theatre productions at Calvin typically require eight weeks of nightly rehearsals.

As an actress Nelsen also says it is nice to get a better feel for the behind-the-scenes activity involved in a live theatre production, a sentiment with which Ross concurs.

" We’ve got to be there to pick plays," she says. "We’ve got to be there to pick directors. We see the directors cast their plays. For us, we have a vision for when we read the play, but the director always has a different vision, and that’s neat to see.”

Adds Nelsen: “We watch all of our productions go up and say, I can’t believe we survived another one."

~written by Calvin staff writer Myrna Anderson

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