Theatre UNI holding 10-minute play auditions

TheatreUNI+directing+course+is+asking+students+of+all+majors+to+submit+virtual+auditions+for+the+10-minute+plays%2C+as+opposed+to+the+typical+in-person+format+due+to+COVID-19.+Specific+rules+have+been+implemented+to+reduce+the+spread%2C+such+as+no+touching.

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TheatreUNI directing course is asking students of all majors to submit virtual auditions for the 10-minute plays, as opposed to the typical in-person format due to COVID-19. Specific rules have been implemented to reduce the spread, such as no touching.

KAYLA LAWRENCE

The UNI Theatre program’s 10-minute plays act as a rite of passage for all theatre majors, and yet another fun tradition available for students of any major on UNI’s campus. Each semester, theatre majors enrolled in Assistant Professor Amy Osatinski’s directing course are given the task of directing their very own 10-minute play.

The assignment isn’t just busy work, or even for a mere grade. Instead, Osatinski said, she uses the plays as a teaching moment so her students can ask not just what they can do for the genre of 10-minute plays, but what it can do for them. By the end of a six-week period, her students will present performances of their plays, the combination of all that they’ve learned and the leadership skills they’ve developed to be able to leave her class with directorial experience under their belts.

Osatinski’s students have quite a few responsibilities as directors, even though their plays might only span from seven to eighteen minutes in time — the name is a bit of a misnomer. They must choose a formerly published play, to which they must then secure the rights, and then produce it. In many cases this doesn’t include costumes or even really a set, but they hold open auditions, cast their actors and handle the rest outside of class.

“Each director is responsible for setting up a rehearsal schedule and running a full process,” Osatinksi said. “They have about six weeks, and that’s all outside of class time based on the actors’ schedule.”

And while theatre is generally a very hands-on process in the literal sense, as acting usually requires some form of basic human interaction, this year the 10-minute plays are being handled a bit differently. Osatinksi said that at the time of auditions, students are asked what they’re comfortable with as actors. She noted that while allowing actors the opportunity to set boundaries was an important part of the process, the pandemic this year changed that.

While the usual questions that might be included are something along the lines of, “Are you comfortable portraying a romantic relationship?” or “Would you be comfortable kissing someone?” to abide by the campus’ COVID-19 guidelines, none of this will be allowed.

“It was much easier this semester since there’s no touching…so casting is much simpler in that sense,” Osatinski said.

However, she and her group of directors have come up with some creative ways to maintain the tradition of the 10-minute play and stop COVID-19 from dissuading actors from coming out to audition.

As done in previous years, open auditions will still be held for any student on campus interested in joining. Instead of in-person auditions, this semester the class will hold virtual ones, and students will be able to send in a video of their audition to be reviewed by the directors. If necessary, callbacks will be hosted live on Zoom, and afterwards actors may be cast in their respective productions, sent a script and begin rehearsing.

Directors then have the choice of having in-person rehearsals that observe pandemic protocols or virtual rehearsals over Zoom. The shows themselves will be taped without an audience or recorded over Zoom to be put into a video file that will be sent to anyone who wants to watch.

Osatinski encouraged students from all over campus to participate by watching as an audience member or auditioning if interested.

“Auditions are open to anyone who wants to audition, and we get very excited when we have folks from elsewhere on campus come join us for auditions,” said Osatinski. “It’s a great way to get a foot in the door without a huge commitment.”

The experience of the theatre program’s 10-minute plays promises to be a good one, full of laughs and good times. For more information or to learn how to obtain a link to view the plays, contact Amy Osatinski at [email protected]