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Davis, California

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Dead Arts Society makes performance world accessible to all majors

What happens if you are an engineering, exercise biology, or managerial economics major and you find yourself falling in love with the performance world? Do you have to choose between the two?

The Dead Arts Society was created to help students pursue various forms of performance work on a relatively low level of commitment. It will perform four works as part of its quarter showcase in Wright Hall’s Lab A from Tuesday until June 2.

The organization was conceived from another student organization on campus called Studio 301 in Winter Quarter last year; it was previously called the Dead Playwright’s Society.

“The Dead Arts Society provides students with an outlet for artistic self-expression,” said Nehorai Gold, treasurer for The Dead Arts Society. “Being in a show takes up a lot of time and many students, especially those who are new to theatre or aren’t drama majors, just don’t have the time to commit to being in a full-scale production. This way, any student can freely explore whichever theatrical and performative skills they desire in a comfortable, supportive and less committed setting.”

Traditionally, in the first five weeks of the quarter, members spend their time collectively writing pieces such as plays, raps, songs or skits. The following five weeks are spent piecing together the devised work through casting, staging and directing at technical rehearsals.

In past years, the group has performed quarterly showcases of original student works ranging from comedies, dramas, soap operas and jazz dances to rap, instrumental and a capella songs.

This year, however, The Dead Arts Society is taking on the new and challenging undertaking of presenting full-length, one-act plays written, casted and directed by students from all areas of interest.

“This quarter, we’re taking on a much more serious endeavor,” Gold said. “A few of our members have been interested in writing full-length and one-act plays. As longer works require more rehearsal time, the pieces had to be completed prior to the start of the quarter.”

Like many of its other performances, The Dead Arts Society urged students from all majors and educational backgrounds to audition for shows. Rehearsals for the one-acts began once the auditions were completed at the end of the first week of the overall process.

John Malin, a cell biology major, devised and wrote the piece entitled “Jasper,” which is about a young man with an imaginary friend and alternate personality named Jasper.

“As a playwright, it is an immensely rewarding experience,” Malin said. “It’s hard to describe how it feels so see something go from a tiny idea in your mind to a fully developed dramatic production that you can share with an audience.”

The Dead Arts Society is currently venturing into new mediums such as film, short stories and music videos that will be featured on their Youtube site, which is currently under construction.

“The focus of this club has always been on the students,” said Jessamyn Lett, production manager and junior Landscape Architecture major. “We wanted to create a club that was all about student work, student writing, student directing and student acting. This diversity of interests allows us to provide a unique experience.”

For more information about The Dead Arts Society or how to get involved with the organization for upcoming projects, e-mail deadartssociety@gmail.com.

UYEN CAO can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.


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