Sure, you”ve been to Hill Auditorium maybe even the Power Center. But a walk down the stairs to the basement of East Quad will lead you to yet another theater here on campus that you may never have even seen, let alone entered. The East Quad Auditorium has been the home of the RC Players since the late 1970s and this weekend they hope to open their doors to the entire University community with a production of Sam Shepard”s “Buried Child.”
The Pulitzer Prize-winning drama surrounds a complex rural family trying desperately to cover up a past that no one wants to talk about. As the story unfolds, some unexpected visitors throw off the balance of this pent-up frustration and in the process, help to unearth the secret buried past of the family.
Paul Kuttner, a Residential College senior and director of the student-run show, chose the drama for its depth and intricacy. “The show really hits you hard,” he said. “It makes you think.” Such a dramatic script has been quite a challenge for the RC Players, a group that historically leans towards comedies and light-hearted fare.
This has been a challenge the actors have not only embraced, but enjoyed. Susie Schutt, a sophomore in the RC and the actress portraying Halie, said, “We analyzed everything before we went out and did it, and I feel that was beneficial.” The demanding script called for a month of long rehearsals, but the result is a more layered, serious show than previous RC performances. Kuttner promised that all the hard work has paid off. “Everyone has put a lot into this. I have an amazing cast,” he said.
The RC Players are unique as a performing group on campus because they are completely student run. The plays are chosen, directed, acted and produced by students, which creates the strong sense of community often associated with the Residential College. Schutt said that the productions are “more of a collaborative effort than other programs,” which is a big part of what makes the experience fun. Kuttner said that although rehearsals have been hard work, “it”s a very relaxed atmosphere.”
This will no doubt carry over into the upcoming performances, with an intimate audience that is oftentimes filled with friends and RC peers. Those involved in “Buried Child” hope to integrate the audience with a more diverse crowd this weekend. They have invested a considerable amount of time into advertising to the whole campus in order to educate the community about the RC Players. “The RC Players is open to everyone. I”d really like this play to be a starting point for the outside community to get their first view of us,” Kuttner said.
The RC Players” mission statement is “to provide a unique, entertaining and educational experience in an open and collaborative environment for all those interested in the dramatic and performing arts.” With this open, inviting atmosphere, the East Quad Auditorium has the potential to do much more than house and nurture the arts here on campus it can be the mixing pot that brings together parts of the University that may not normally converge.
Tickets are $3 for students and $5 for adults. The show runs this Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.