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Student Play Festival offers fun theater experience for veterans, newcomers

June 3, 2014

Students of Wauwatosa East High School showcased six plays in 20-minute intervals last weekend for the Student Play Festival (SPF).

SPF is entirely student run, meaning plays are written, performed and directed by students. Members of Tosa East Players said SPF is a great entry point for students interested in a first-time theater experience.

"Since it's student run, there are a lot more opportunities to act," said junior Tuxford Turner, one of the heads of SPF with senior Candace Freeman. "We have people get in all the time who weren't in the spring or fall show, and it changes their lives forever."

Plays are intentionally chosen to vary in genre, from a classic prince and princess story to a horror show.

SPF also makes due with limited resources. Cast and crew members create the costumes and set based on a limited budget and often reuse props from Tosa East's collection.

"It's really much more laid back than a (fall or spring) show. It's less time consuming, and you're doing it with friends," said Freeman.

And for seniors, it's one last way to perform in the Dale K. Hidde Theatre before graduation.

"It's really nice to have something come down the pipeline because Players is so important to everyone. It raises the spirits, and everyone can get in the theater," said Turner.

Students of all age levels can submit a written production. Turner recalled having one of his plays chosen when he was a freshman.

Seeing student-authored work on stage is fulfilling and "crazy" since the idea was in your head at one point, said Turner. It's also fun to "see your friends in it become really passionate about it," he added.

"You don't necessarily have to be really talented in anything to be a part of SPF," said Freeman. "No matter what, we're all having fun."

This year's SPF productions included:

·"Choose Your Own Play-Venture," a play intended for audience participation to determine the actors' next move. Written by senior Joey Bednarski.

·"Tom the Traveler," based on Tosa East's former theater director Tom Thaney, who travels back in time to find his wife, but ends up finding himself. Written by seniors Noah Leubner and Wes Zebrowski.

·"On The Wall," a murder mystery based on the Mother Goose rhyme, "Humpty Dumpty." Written by Miles Brooks, junior.

·"Sir John Ahno," a classic prince and princess story with social commentary, written in Shakespearean verse. Written by senior Luke Murphy.

·"As Rome Burned," a dramatic, war-torn production. Written by senior Sam Murphy.

·"Strangers," a horror show set in one man's house where his past becomes revealed. Written by Turner, under the pen-name of "Berry Killings," a student tradition passed down for horror productions in SPF.

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