Spontaneity reigns in Immediate Theatre

If you were near Paresky last Thursday night you might have heard shouting, laughter or perhaps snatches of odd, wild conversation as you walked into the building. What could possibly have been causing so much exciting noise? Williams Immediate Theatre, of course. And get this: it was only a planning meeting.

Williams Immediate Theatre is a campus club that puts on small, unexpected and usually amusing performances that expand the definition of theater. The group was created last fall in a joint effort between Casey York ’10, Julian Mesri ’09, Eben Hoffer ’10 and Nathaniel Basch-Gould ’11 in order to offer an alternative option for people interested in theater. Their first production of the Jason Robert Brown musical The Last Five Years last spring was highly successful and put the group on the map.

The members of Immediate Theatre are adamant that they are not trying to compete with Cap & Bells, the existing campus student theater organization, but have a different, unique style. “We wanted to create a company that would be able to take more risks and experiment with more non-traditional theater options;” York said, “a group that could respond more immediately to an idea proposed by any member – somewhere that we could experiment with performance art, with workshopping new student written pieces, with short weird scenes, with using poetry and visual arts onstage.”

Because of the spontaneous nature of Immediate Theatre, there is no telling what will be happening on campus at any given time. There are already several plans on the calendar that promise to be incredibly entertaining. Most “immediately” on the horizon is the first ever “Petri Dish” – a chance to see a variety of short performances and, of course, to “get cultured.”

The Petri Dish is a collection of 10-minute acts that will range from staged readings of original works to Shakespearean soliloquies, from slam poetry to musical performances. All are welcome to present ideas for this night of free-for-all mini-theater, which will take place on Oct. 4 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Perry Goat Room. Art will also be on display by George Carstocea ’10 and Ashley Carrera ’10. “It’s a chance to get up on a stage and try anything – get some feedback and then keep working on it and hopefully expand it into an event of its own,” York said.

Other events include a 24-hour theater festival where the participants will have 24 hours to write, direct, design and perform a short play. Goodrich Hall has already been reserved for a weekend during Winter Study and all are welcome to sign up.

The group meets every Thursday in Paresky 112 at 5 p.m. Meeting in a smaller space gives each member an opportunity to propose his or her ideas without being lost in the crowd. From the founding members to a first-time freshman, everyone is welcome and able to suggest ideas for performances. Each idea is taken seriously, and the group works to get as many ideas off the ground as possible. The equality of the group is an integral aspect that makes Immediate Theatre so approachable, even for those who have no prior experience.

Meetings can include everything from brainstorming about an upcoming project, readings of dramatic monologues, to a read-through of a student-written play. Being able to prepare shorter performances allows the members of the group to participate in a myriad of different theatrical aspects. Instead of spending months preparing for one acting part, members can act, direct, produce, sing and write several short pieces within that time.

Immediate Theatre is always up to something new and exciting (wait until you see what they have planned for Paresky Lawn on Oct. 15), so be sure to keep an eye out for the unexpected coming very soon to a theater or student center near you.

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