by AMANDA TRAXLER
Tiffin University’s Theatre Arts program, also known as the Dragons Den Players, celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. The Player’s recently staged Neil Simon’s Rumors, which was the first show the theatre program staged here at the university.
When asked where the name Dragons Den Players came from, Dr. Mary Grennen, director of theatre arts, stated “The Dragon’s Den Players’ name was conceived by Joe Knipe, who has designed the sets for all of our productions, since 2007.”
In over one decade, the theatre department has staged 23 productions and has given hundreds of thespians and thousands of audience members the opportunity to enjoy theatre on the TU campus. “Though it is always sad to see our veterans graduate, I assure them that they are always welcome in the Den and hope that they continue to be active in theatre wherever they live,” Dr. Grennen said.
When it comes to selecting a show to stage, the process involves a series of decisions involving staging requirements, casting, technical demands, space, and a fair amount of conjecture with regard to audience response, she said.
“I have been fortunate so far to have selected 23 plays that have all been extremely well-received,” she said.
The set that was used for this semester’s performance of Rumors is only slightly different from the set that was used in 2007. When the show was originally staged, a higher platform was used that required twice the number of stairs. “The first set didn’t even have a rug on the set, and, quite frankly, I’d like to see our present stage rug be replaced with a new one, as it has ‘seen better plays’” Dr. Grennen said.
Though she enjoys every play that she directs, she has always considered Rumors to be one of her favorite modern comedies. She also said that the enjoyment of educational theater truly lies in seeing these young actors bring their own flavor to the parts and reap the rewards of acting before a live audience after the long hours they have rehearsed on early weekend mornings throughout the semester.
“I also believe that many of our actors, set builders, painters, and production crew have no idea how talented they are, and how much they bring to our campus. We are a family, and every single person named in our play programs contributes significantly to the final product,” Dr. Grennen also said.
She chose to revive the first play done by the theatre department was chosen two years ago when she knew that she could cast it with the actors she had.
“It has a fast-paced script, side-splitting humor and vibrant characters. It was a wonderful opportunity to see an already performed play with a new cast and new crews,” she said.
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