Each thespian has their own unique story as to how the theatre took ahold of their heart. Fourth year Theatre Arts major Natasha Potts shares her story as to how she got involved in theatre, what her experience has been like throughout her four years at Sonoma State University, and details about the exciting, upcoming show “Mr. Burns, a post-electric play.”
“I did my first show in fifth grade because my band teacher said I should. It was so fun. I’ve done a show every year since and haven’t looked back,” said Potts. In a thespian’s eyes, every show is another opportunity to learn and grow as an actor because they are working with another director, a new cast, and they get to play another character and become a different person. Every production teaches them a completely different skillset, and the wide variety of productions that Sonoma State is able to run is very helpful in expanding and developing the actors’ skills. The skills Potts learned while playing Judy in the production of “Bluebird,” a children's play, was no less important than the ones she learned while performing Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” or “Into the Woods” by Sondheim.
Potts also shares her thoughts on the department as a whole and her experience in it. “It’s been an experience as I feel like it is with any department. There are the amazing parts and the struggles, but overall this department has been and is so welcoming and supportive. All the professors are very supportive and have always pushed me and my peers to keep going. They just want the best for their students.”
The theatre program has grown every year since Potts’ arrival at Sonoma State. There has been an influx with some years bringing in more students than the previous, but on average the department has seen slow and steady growth, which is a testament to both the faculty and students’ hard work over the years. This growth in classes has not only allowed for multiple sections of the same class, but it also gives Potts and her peers a chance to form a meaningful relationship and collaborate with excited new students.
When asked to look back on the multiple productions she has been a part of over the years and to choose a favorite Potts said, “We just did Twelfth Night and I had a lot of fun with that one. It was my first really large Shakespeare role and in it we all got to play different genders which was a nice little challenge to get into that characterization as opposed to your regular roles in a production. So I think I’ll have to go with that one for those reasons and given how long we worked on it.”
The theatre and drama department is putting together a new production titled “Mr. Burns: a post-electric play” by Anne Washburn, after capping off a very successful run of the production “Woyzeck.” “Mr. Burns” is a three-act play that recounts the story of “Cape Feare,” an episode from The Simpsons in which a great catastrophe has just occured. In this post-apocalyptic setting a group of survivors comes together and shows how life has changed immediately after the catastrophe, how it changed seven years down the line, and finally how it’s affected life 75 years later. This exciting new play, directed by Alexis Macnab, is going to be performed in the Evert B. Person Theatre from Oct. 31 to Nov. 4. Potts remarks about the upcoming play, “It’s going to be a lot of singing, dancing and craziness but it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Potts invites any and all to go and see what the drama department has been working hard on. She also had some closing thoughts for any thespians out in the world, whatever the age. “If you have any interest in theatre whatsoever, just jump in and give it a try. The entire community is so caring and welcoming and we would love to have you join our family.”
For her senior project Potts will be running the production of Theresa Rebeck’s wonderful production “Sunday on the Rocks,” from March 7 through the 10.