by Peter Mai
Professors weigh in on the purpose of the soundstage for students and faculty and voice their hopes for a new facility in the future.
There have been several instances of the soundstage being double-booked for events. A recent instance was when the Alfred Hitchcock Film Festival overlapped with The Crucible rehearsal. The rehearsal was relocated to Room M while the film festival occurred. Another incident was SOUL’s quarterly event, Metanoia, pushed back two weeks due to a film set. These double-bookings have raised questions as to what the purpose of the soundstage is.
Professor George Simon gave a brief insight into the situation, “In a perfect world, the soundstage would be used for students producing projects. The facility is specialized in order to give resources that have a specific purpose. The reality of the situation as the university grows, the facility will expand but we operate within [the soundstage’s] limitations.” The soundstage is currently the largest room that students have access to; it is a space that is in constant demand.
“Right now, it’s a big challenge to accommodate everyone,” said Professor Simon.
Professor Angie Bitsko stated her opinion on the matter. “For theatre students, [the soundstage is] beneficial for smaller pieces and intimate types of show. But for productions such as a musical, it is not the best type of venue for that kind of work. Since we’re launching the musical theater emphasis, that’s become very apparent.”
Professor Bitsko proposed a solution for the situation: a new theater stage and space. “[JPCatholic] know[s] that in order to have a musical theatre program, we need to have a larger space. That became very apparent with the production Fiddler on the Roof in the summer.”
Professor Bitsko addressed the limitations of the current soundstage for acting students. She noted that there isn’t much room for experimentation with lighting and sound design for plays. “When you’re training actors for stage work, they’re not going to be able to work at their full capacity with volume and articulation and projection because in the soundstage, it’s theater in the square. Our theater students are at a disadvantage working continuously in a soundstage.”
The timeframe for construction on the new soundstage in the 133 building is contingent on successful fundraising.