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DeWalt takes on new role

Alumni Nick DeWalt is directing MVNU Theatre’s spring production, “Bang Bang You’re Dead,” this weekend.

DeWalt graduated in the fall of 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education and Vocal Performance. During his time at MVNU, he was active in the theater and music departments.

DeWalt first showed interest in directing during his time on MVNU’s stage. But, it was not until the spring of 2016 that the dream became a reality.

“He’s really grown a lot in his acting,” said Assistant Professor of Theatre Ryan Long. “I think in understanding more about his own acting that’s sort of inspired him to work with others on theirs.”

DeWalt said he is enjoying being on the other side of the stage and playing an active role in producing the show.

“I am looking forward to watching a show come together that I helped create with a great leadership team, a great crew and a great cast,” DeWalt said.

DeWalt believes one of the biggest challenges from the director’s chair is timing.

“It’s tough getting everyone together consistently to put in rehearsal,” said DeWalt.

The cast had only six weeks to rehearse the play before the production’s opening night. However, DeWalt has stayed optimistic.

“Even within the first couple weeks of rehearsals, things have gone more smoothly than I expected,” DeWalt said.

Another challenge DeWalt has faced is creating a vision for the show and relaying it to the whole cast. Long said that obstacle is common to directors.

“When you’re a director, you have an idea of how you want the show to look and how you envision the characters, and your cast may or may not realize that vision,” Long said.

DeWalt recognizes the challenge and hopes to help each cast member to the best of his ability.

“I'm thinking about more than just my character but each character individually and then each character as a full ensemble and working it all together to tell a whole story,” DeWalt said. [if !supportLineBreakNewLine] [endif]

After receiving permission from Long in the Spring of 2016 to direct a production, “Bang Bang You’re Dead” was the first one that came to mind.

“I felt like it would be an easier show to put together as far as logistics,” DeWalt said. “But the message and the theme behind the show is a very powerful one that I think audiences will remember.”

Long agreed with his production choice. “I thought it was a very timely piece and very important piece for our community,” she said.

DeWalt is not the first student to direct a production at MVNU.

In previous years, J-Term allowed theatre students to direct one-act plays. However, after J-Term was dissolved, there were fewer opportunities for student-directed productions.

“Ever since January Term went away, it has been very hard to find students who are interested in directing their own work,” Long said.

She believes there has been a hole in the department without this opportunity.

“Other students seem to respond to student-directed work and seem to enjoy it a lot more because it’s work that their peers are doing, not something that a professor is doing and putting on,” said Long.

“There is something different about student-directed work that I think is exciting,” she said.

DeWalt is the second student director this school year. Alumni Serra Barrett directed “Don’t Take My Penny” last fall during her final semester at MVNU.

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