The Magic of a One-Week Musical
They have just one week. Sets need to be designed, songs need to be learned, and dances need to be choreographed. As soon as thespians return to campus in the fall, time starts running out.
Every year, Powder and Wig, Colby’s student-run theater group, organizes a one-week musical—put together by students, from scratch, in nine days. “Everyone comes to the one-week just psyched to see these rag-tag bunch of idiots who will put on this extreme crazy musical,” said George Venturella ’11, director of this year’s production. This year there were three performances, September 16 and 17, including one at midnight. Tickets always go fast.
Just because it’s popular and demanding doesn’t mean it’s exclusive. “We will give anybody who wants to be involved in theater a chance to be involved in theater. That is the founding club motto,” said Venturella. Freshmen are particularly encouraged to join this week of frenzy. “It is supposed to be a great ice breaker for new students coming in, as well as to get the community together and get us [Powder and Wig] started on a good foot,” said Alison Reader ’12. “I met some of my best friends in this [one-week musical].”
Mounting a production in such a short time is no easy task, but students manage year after year. “It always comes together,” said Reader, laughing. Some students are not ready to study in full force and see the rehearsals as the last remaining bit of summer. Many rehearse until the wee hours of the morning.
But they don’t aim for perfection. “Because it is the one-week musical, and there is that element of danger, we are more accepting to flaws. It is all in the spirit of fun,” said Venturella.
The choice of musical is also unique to this first-of-the-year production. “We always try to pick musicals that are a little more cult-y,” said Venturella.
This year’s choice was Reefer Madness. “Oh no! No! We don't tone it down, no!” said Venturella. It creates an interactive experience. “Actors feed off audience energy.”
“The moment where you know there is not any doubt you have got the audience,” said Venturella, “when you feel a hundred spirits lifting, and you are flirting with the spirits. That is the reason I go into theater.”
See Echo review by Dash Wasserman '12