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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Though unchartered, Free Play Theater announces second season

Published: January 19, 2007
Section: Front Page

Despite not gaining chartered status last semester, the Free Play Theatre Cooperative (FPTC) released an online message to its Facebook group announcing it would pursue a second season.

Were very pleased to be entering our second season, said Free Play Co-Founder and Artistic Director Josh Mervis 08. We know its going to be a lot of work, but a lot of people have had their hearts set on this, and have put a lot of work into this project. We are passionate about what were doing, and we understand that change isnt something that comes when you act alone.

The club encountered resistance last fall when, after a close vote, the Student Union voted against chartering the group. The main argument against its passage was that there would be duality of purpose with the Brandeis Ensemble Theatre, and this new collective would drain campus resources, such as access to the Shapiro Theatre and its scene shop, even more. The club was recognized, however, and has since striven to demonstrate their differences from any other Brandeis theatre group.

According to the message sent Jan. 16, Free Play plans on presenting three new plays this semester. The first play to be performed will be Marisol, directed by Jennifer El-Far 07 and will hit the stage in mid-March. This play about the absence of guardian angels, and the chaos that ensues, revolves around a strong female role which is less-attempted in theatre. El-Far, who directed The Black Eyed last semester for the FPTC, said she hoped to present this production in the Rose Art Museum, a venue yet to be utilized by an undergraduate theatre company. The cooperative also plans on presenting the classic Julius Caesar, as an eight-person ensemble to help enliven the classic text. This will be the only play by Shakespeare at Brandeis this semester and will be directed by Sam Zelitch 09. The final play that the Cooperative will produce is Greed. This rap musical, which explores the intersection of selfless greed and selfish greed through a series of unfortunate events, was written and will be directed by Will Chalmus 07. It will open in the Merrick Theatre in early May.

Not being able to go before the Student Union Finance Board, the club has looked to other avenues for funds. Managing Director Nick Brown looked for a number of on and off-campus grant associations to acquire money for the projects. He was successful last semester and plans on stepping-up the number of proposals he creates. Mervis has stated that the group has a nest egg from last semesters funding. He went onto state that the group can accommodate for their monetary needs.
The group will have auditions for its shows on Wednesday January 24th in the Crawford Studio of the Spingold theatre from 6-11 pm. All callbacks will then be arranged for the following day.

The officers of the cooperative were excited about the upcoming semester and hope to demonstrate the uniqueness of their group. We hope to unite campus theatre so that undergraduate theatre at Brandeis can be more professional, commented Nick Brown, the groups Managing Director. He added that he desired to put out a better product for the Brandeis community. Other officers commented about the uniqueness of the organization and the notable success this new club has had in the past semester.

Each play that we produce is better than the last, said El-Far. We are learning. We are rough around the edges, but underneath there is a strong desire from a small group of people to provide alternate options for quality theater on campus.