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Preview: Eastfield’s return to the stage

Preview: Eastfield’s return to the stage
Veronica Trejo

The Eastfield Theatre Department is putting on its first show since the campus’ closure in 2020. They will perform “Squirrel Girl Goes to College” at 7:30 p.m., April 10-13 on the F Building main stage. Admission is free.

“Don’t walk into this show expecting a super serious comedy or drama,” Niels Winter, Fine & Performing Arts technical specialist, said. “Come in expecting to laugh.”

This is also theater instructor Emily Gray’s inaugural production. Gray is currently in her second semester of teaching at Eastfield and so far, things are running smoothly.

“Everyone’s just come out of the woodwork,” Gray said. “It’s lovely, and they’re all very sweet, too. I feel quite lucky, because you never know with a new job.”

“Squirrel Girl” is one of three plays released in the Marvel Spotlight Collection. These shows portray teenage versions of popular Marvel characters, such as Thor, Loki and Ms. Marvel, while creating a cool way for both comic and theater nerds to come together and perform.

“I feel like since there hasn’t been anything [since the pandemic], I might as well do something super fun,” Gray said. “Hopefully, people join in and then we’ll get some momentum. Then we can do some more serious work.”

Despite being the first show back, everything was right where it needed to be when production started, thanks to Winter.

“The shop has been operational since 2020,” Winter said. “I’ve kept it up to snuff.”

Squirrel Girl’s comic book origin invites and challenges the production team to figure out how to bring wacky, cartoonish special effects to life.

“It’s been a really great collaborative process,” Technical Theatre Coordinator Ben Bryant said. “Ever since we found out what the play was going to be, we’ve been tossing back ideas for the world of a comic book and the goofy things that maybe don’t translate as well here.”

Another way the technicians are making this show stand out is by converting the space into a “thrust stage,” by putting the audience on stage surrounding the performance.

“Rather than seating out in the house, because ‘Squirrel Girl’ is a much more intimate show, we decided to emulate a black box style theater,” Winter said. “‘The Violet Hour’ was the last time we did a show where the audience sat on stage, and that was back in 2015.”

The seating arrangement provides a more personal experience for each audience member, as every person will have a unique angle on the action. It also requires extra attention to detail and a different thought process for scene planning to pull off.

“You have to do everything design-wise for three different people, basically,” Winter said. “You can come in three different nights and watch three very different shows.”

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Sean Stroud
Sean Stroud, Editor in Chief
Veronica Trejo
Veronica Trejo, Graphic Designer

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