An entire semesters worth of creativity and dedication came to life on stage in Schroeder Hall on Saturday afternoon, when Sonoma State University Music 340 students presented a performance that they themselves wrote, directed, and acted in.
Students begin the course by selecting the music they wish to accompany their final performance. From there, they find a unifying theme in the songs and use that theme to write a storyline.
While it may seem unorthodox by theatrical standards, this method allows students to use some of their favorite music to create a unique theatrical experience.
With the help of Doctor Lynne Morrow, students enrolled in Music 340, or Musical Theater Scenes Workshop spend two class sessions a week writing and rehearsing an original performance piece they created. This semester’s piece was entitled, “Save the Date!” a piece in which everything that can go wrong during Paul and Amy’s wedding does, and friendships are made in the course of an hour and a half.
The performance featured music of all kinds, ranging from the historic pop of The Beatles, pieces from the Broadway songwriting virtuoso Stephen Sondheim, to the sardonic stylings of Stephin Merritt and his band The Magnetic Fields. The play was well-rehearsed and had minimal set decoration, which helped to increase the focus on the play’s cast.
Set decoration was close to none, but the costumes were very well-designed and were used nicely to give each character their own distinct personality, such as Aunt Phyllis, who has had three weddings and will not hesitate to tell everyone about her marriage to second husband Derrick.
The story that is conveyed through The Magnetic Fields’ “69 Love Songs” track “Yeah! Oh Yeah!” It was a marvel to see students act in a play they wrote themselves.
If any students are interested in doing something so creative, they’re in luck.
“It’s not a major-restricted course,” said Morrow, “so anyone can enroll.” This course’s student roster ranges from those who have never performed before to voice majors, so the range in experience is varied.
The course does not require an audition to become part of such a grand theatrical experience, giving students of all majors and backgrounds the opportunity to express their interest in performing arts without being tied down to the major or prerequisites.