Drama Students Learn through Observation at UNK Performance

December 20, 2012


Sixteen students of the Drama classes attended a University Theatre at Kearney production of And Then There Were None, a three-act mystery by Agatha Christie in November.  Christie, known around the world as a prolific mystery writer, first wrote the novel Ten Little Indians and later adapted the book for the stage.  The play has been made into three different film versions.

Janice Fronczak, professor of theatre, worked with a cast of eleven.  Most of the cast were undergraduate college students, but Fronczak also cast one of her colleagues, Jack Garrison, in the role of the old judge Sir Lawrence Wargrave.  The production was presented especially for high school students in the Studio Theatre.  This theatre is more of a "black box," which means the space is adaptable to various types of staging.  The audience for And Then There Were None sat on three sides of the small thrust stage.  The acting was very close up and intimate, and LHS students remarked on how well they could see and hear every movement on stage.

Drama students not only watched the performance but were also able to ask questions of the director, cast and crew at a Q and A immediately following the show.  Junior Maria Lopez remarked, "The final talk we had with the actual persons was great because we had the opportunity to meet them and to know little details about them, and they all seem very friendly."  Freshman Karina Martinez said that she "felt like [she] was in a 5D movie...I took mental notes to help me out on my acting."

Students all wrote a six-paragraph critique over several actors, the stage set, and a particular element in the play such as light and sound.  They also wrote about the theme of the play and were asked to comment on the general reaction of the audience around them.  Perhaps Sophomore Stephanie Saunders summed it up best: "While I was watching this play it showed me all new ways of acting.  It helped me understand how much is going on during these plays and how focused you truly need to be on your character.  This was a mind opening experience."