Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Theater program continues to add to overall campus experience for many OU-C students

The campus' theater program provides a creative outlet for students.

By student public relations writer Madison Corbin

The campus’ theater program is far more than a one-act play. Beyond adding to the cultural life on campus, it also engages with community members and provides a creative outlet for OU-C students. Since joining the Chillicothe Campus this fall, theater director and faculty member Lance Mekeel has been striving to ensure the program reaches its star-power potential.

Beginning with the season-opening production of “Almost, Maine” in December, Mekeel has worked to foster an inviting atmosphere and a productive work ethic, from auditions to rehearsals to opening night. “The collegiality of theater means that you are working closely with others,” said Mekeel. “You can’t help but get to know people and make new friendships.”

Participating students affirmed his efforts. “It’s really helped me be social and outgoing,” said Haley Gray, a student actor at OU-C. “Being a part of something so much bigger . . . it’s really awesome.”

“I feel that it’s important for students to understand that theater is not just for getting onstage, memorizing lines and acting, but that theater serves us in so many ways as human beings” said Mekeel, whose interests in theater’s abundant benefits span personal, practical and professional applications. “I’m very interested in making sure that students know that there is a place for them in theater here.”

Also, Mekeel has overseen the establishment of the Student Theater Organization to further connect with students.

In a video found on the OU-C YouTube channel, Mekeel details his vision for the campus’ stage efforts while students offer insight on what being involved entails.

Whether it involves joining the student organization, working backstage, designing a set or auditioning for a performing role, Mekeel encourages interested students to explore their options.

“Take that step. Take the leap and get involved in whatever capacity you feel comfortable . . . to forge those new relationships with people, to create those new knowledges . . . that’s the way we become better humans.”

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