The University of Oregon Theater Arts Department is serving fresh soup this summer, but it’s not the kind you eat.
For a third year the Summer Seat of Our Pants theater program returns to Hope Theatre bringing a variety of shows and student work to stage starting this Friday.
Theater by the Seat of Our Pants, or SOUP, means that shows are produced and performed on a shorter deadline than the regular season. Rather than having four to five weeks to prepare for a play in the regular season, the summer theater program plans and rehearses plays in as little as two weeks, said UO theater arts instructor Tricia Rodley.
As a result, ideas can flourish and students as well as UO community members can try new things while continuing to hone their passion for theater arts in the off season.
“We create an environment where people can try new things, so sometimes we have people designing things for the first time or trying stage managing when they’ve not done it yet,” Rodley said. “It’s kind of a soup pot of exploration.”
The first of this summer’s shows premiers this Friday, July 19, and Saturday, July 20, at 7:30 p.m. with two adaptations of Chekhov’s Vaudevilles titled “The Proposal” and “The Bear.” Directed by Rodley, the two short classic plays are absurd comedies that involve physical humor.
“We’ve been rehearsing this week and we’re in good shape, but next week it will start to feel a little bit more chaotic but in a good way,” Rodley said, laughing. “I think that’s part of the magic of it. It feels like chaos then this magical thing happens where it all comes together.”
The next play in the SOUP line up is Harrison Sim’s original play “Sun Poisoning.” Directed by Ellen Gillooly-Kress, the play is a compelling dramatic comedy about a small desert town dealing with fundamental change. “Sun Poisoning” premiers at Hope Theatre on Aug. 23 and 24 at 7: 30 p.m.
The summer theater schedule will conclude with The Slow Cooker Series, which involves play readings of student written work during the first week of fall term. The series provides an opportunity for students to test out work in front of a live audience.
Tickets to all shows are free to everyone all summer long.
“The big word that comes to mind is opportunity,” Rodley said. “It’s an opportunity to continue working in the summer without the pressures of full class loads, the opportunity to try new things and an opportunity to expose our community to different work. And it’s just kind of fun to be put on the spot.”
To learn more about the Summer SOUP theater program or to get involved, visit its website.
—By Bryan Dorn, University Communications