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Making their debut

The first production of the 2011-2012 SMSU theater season will have a few new faces onstage

October 22, 2011
By Cindy Votruba , Marshall Independent

MARSHALL - For almost half of the cast of the upcoming show at Southwest Minnesota State University, it will be their first time on the college stage.

The Southwest Minnesota State University theater department is performing Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27-29 and Nov. 4-5 and 2 p.m. Nov. 6 in the SMSU Fine Arts Theatre. Theater professor Nadine Schmidt is the show's director.

Schmidt said that for eight of the 13 cast members in "Twelfth Night," it's their first show on the SMSU stage. Four are new freshmen and two are transfer students.

Article Photos

Photo by Cindy Votruba
Duncan Bayem, Anna Eben and Callie Franks rehearse a scene from Southwest Minnesota State University theater department’s “Twelfth Night.”

"It's always exciting to work with new people because every person is different and you have to find the way to work best with that person," Schmidt said.

Those who are making their SMSU debut said they're excited about their first experience on a university stage.

"It's a little bit bigger (stage) than I'm used to," said Callie Frank, who plays Viola. Frank hails from Sartell.

"I think it's amazing," said Anna Eben of George, Iowa, who portrays Antonio. Eben said she's enjoyed theater since she was a freshman in high school. "It's more intense."

Aiden Elwell, a junior transfer student from White Bear Lake, said this is his first college play.

"It certainly beats any of the high school shows I've been in," Elwell said.

Elwell is used to the theater though as his mother is the business manager for the Lake Shore Players in White Bear Lake.

Although the new actors come from different communities, they have bonded onstage while working on the Shakespeare show.

It will be the first-ever show for transfer student Justin Craigmile, who came to SMSU from Spokane, Wash. He was encouraged by Frank to take on the role of Orsino after another actor had dropped out.

"I've been doing speech and debate for 10 years," Craigmile said. He said he likes being in front of people, but it will be a first time for him being in a theater production. "I was excited about trying out."

Duncan Bayem is a freshman chemistry major who is originally from Nigeria.

"(I wondered) 'how was I going to do this?'" Bayem said. "I grew to love it."

Bayem said he's done plays in high school, but not as big as the one he's undertaking now.

"I love it, it's so much better than high school (theater)," said Theresa Ehnert from New York Mills.

Even though Alex Pikala has been in an SMSU show, this will be his first speaking role.

"I like working with my friends," Pikala said. "It's refreshing."

Ehnert said her character is part of a group called "the Tricksters," and she's enjoying all the humor involved with her fellow actors.

"I can't stop laughing," Ehnert said.

Elwell said the enthusiasm for a show is higher than he's experienced in high school.

But on the other hand, having their first show being a Shakespeare one is kind of hard, the actors said. Eben said they're taking the bard in a way that anyone will understand it.

"You have to figure out what you're saying and how to say it," Eben said.

"The more you do it, the better you get at it," Bayem said.

"It's the most challenging role I've ever had," Elwell said.

Craigmile is just happy for the opportunity to perform Shakespeare.

"The music of his language is beyond belief," Craigmile said. "The language just flows off the page."



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