When the John Brown University theater production rolls around next semester, the audience may notice a difference in the cast list of the program.
The Pink Panther Strikes Again is the choice play for spring 2013. The play utilizes 40 characters, some with large roles while others only grace the stage with a few lines. In situations such as this, many of the smaller roles are typically played by the same actor. Yet Jan Lauderdale, director of the play, decided to take a different approach.
On the day of auditions, 20 men and 20 women arrived to recite lines and exemplify their theatric abilities. Lauderdale was impressed. The other coincidence she was astounded by was the number of people who attended auditions perfectly matched up with the number of roles in the script.
“It really was a God thing,” Lauderdale explained.
Amazed by the talent, Lauderdale offered every student who auditioned a role in the production. This is the largest cast Lauderdale has directed in her time at John Brown University.
A big cast brings with it some big challenges. Scheduling is the largest hurdle the cast will face. Trying to coordinate so many different schedules can feel almost impossible. As a director, Lauderdale likes to keep people busy while they are in practice. She realizes the limitations this type of production creates and understands that there may be lag time for people who do not have many lines.
Keeping up with 40 different students is a difficult task. Lauderdale likes to make sure that “every student is working at their full potential.” She does this by trying to spend time and check in on each student.
“I’m so excited because there are so many seasoned actors in this production,” Lauderdale exclaimed. “It is like going to see a movie with an all star cast, you know it’s going to be good because of who is in it.”
Fresh faces will be filling the stage as well.
Chase Poage, sophomore and lead in the play, shared Lauderdale’s enthusiasm.
“It will be fun learning to work together to accomplish a greater goal,” Poage said. “It will have its ups and downs just like any play would, but it might have higher peaks and lower valleys just because of how many people are involved.”
As of now, the University only offers a drama minor. There have been many hindrances in pursuing a drama major, including lack of interest and facilities. The construction of the Berry Preforming Arts Center in 2010 was a step in the right direction for those interested in theater. That interest continues to grow.
“It’s exciting to me because it proves that there is definitely an interest in drama on this campus.It proves if they wanted to create a major, the interest is there,” Lauderdale explained.