By Erich Engert
Algonquin scriptwriting students will see excerpts from scripts they created in the previous fall semester performed on stage by professional actors in three staged events this winter semester.
The event, known as Hot House, takes place in the Theatre Arts Studio for three nights, Feb. 3, March 10 and April 7. It will show scripts written by 27 students in the scriptwriting program.
Actors will act out their respective scripts using whatever background the theatre arts program students had up last. Emphasis of these shows is put on the actual scripts rather than the overall scene and surroundings.
“We want to concentrate on giving the students the tools to write for a stage or to be put on television,” said scriptwriting teacher in writing for actors Beverley Wolfe. “It’s important to focus on the scripts and acting rather than the set and overall background since we only work on the scripts.”
Instead of being bothered by stage fright, the event provides an opportunity for the young scriptwriting students to gather feedback from both the audience and actors who will be performing their 15 minute excerpts to help them improve their skills.
“I look forward to hearing the actors act out the script at the venue; it’ll really help improve my writing,” said scriptwriting student Joshua Murray, 23.
Prior to the events, there are two days for rehearsal. The first rehearsal is for the playwright students and actors to discuss the script excerpts and focus on understanding the roles the actors will be playing.
Technical rehearsal is the second day of preparation when practicing the actors’ roles starts. The day before the event, actors and playwrights return to school one final time before the curtains rise. These final hours are set aside for actors and playwrights to practice and prepare their respective excerpts.
“First, I gather the student’s scripts and read them. Then I pick actors I believe can depict the characters closest, but I have to pick eight actors to fill around 30 roles,” said Hot House artistic director Doug Phillips.
The actors are selected through the New Ottawa Repertory Theatre. Each actor is considered professional and has been paid as an actor at one point or another.
“I provide actors for the Hot House to help students participate in the oldest tradition there is in our culture which is storytelling,” said Phillips.