Students write, driect and produce new works with SideStage
by Hadiyah Weaver
Temple Theaters SideStage is an entire student run production company and they are hosting their annual one-act play festival Short Stuff on December 9 and December 10, 2017.
The free festival is a showcase where a select group of students who have submitted ten to fifteen pages of their own play have it performed onstage. This year, SideStage selected six of their submissions.
“It’s a completely student-run theater company,” Mariah Woods, a junior Theater major with a concentration in acting said. “If there was ever an example of what Sidestage does, then Short Stuff emcompasses the whole of that,” Woods added.
Of those selected plays are three written by executive board members. Rita Castagna, SideStage’s secretary, wrote the play, Roof Deck; treasurer Emily Young wrote the play Catnip; and Mariah Woods, who is the company’s bramaturg who wrote For All of Us.
The other plays are Pupnik by Lauren Lee, How to Destroy the World in Under 6 Minutes by Heather Birmingham and Just Right! By Monasa Lo.
Everyone apart of the Short Stuff festival, from the designers to the actors, is a student driven at Temple. However, not all of the student writers, directrors, actors and designers are theater majors. Any student in the university is welcome to join the organization.
Chicago native Woods says there are no requirements for participation. As one of the only people of color, Woods hopes to get the organization into a place where people of color have a place to come and be creative.
“There are some organizations that are geared towards that, but they’re very exclusive and we are not.” Woods said.
Woods became involved with SideStage during an audition her freshman year at Temple. She credits SideStage for introducing her to new skills; she's had the opportunity to be a lighting designer, sound designer and even director.
“I never knew that I wanted to direct until SideStage,” Woods said. “But that’s one of our [SideStage] missions: if you want to do it, you come here - we’ll show you how to do it and we will give you the opportunity to do that.” Woods said.
The company’s secretary, Rita Castagna also started working with SideStage her freshman year. Castagna, a theater major with acting and musical theater concentrations, is excited for her play to debut on SideStage.
Castagna's advice for anyone wanting to do what she does now is to, “just do everything.” Castagna said, “Just do everything you possibly can - even [simply] emailing anyone on the board saying, ‘Hey, I want to be involved,” and we’re always going to say ‘Yes please, here’s all the ways you can get involved.'”
“I never thought that I would want to do half of the things that I’ve done with SideStage,” Castagna said.” [like] tech work, acting stage management, stage directing, design, or even just ushering for a show, marketing; there are [so many]” . Castagna said.
Short Stuff performances are Saturday, December 9 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, December 10 at 1:00 pm. Reserve a free ticket here.