Barton Theatre Department presents a free student production | Barton Community College

Barton Theatre Department presents a free student production

November 3, 2017
Story and photos by Micah Oelze

Each year, as part of the Theatre Program at Barton, students are asked to take the reins and produce a show entirely by themselves. This year the production is titled “Horror Movie Survival Guide” which will make its one-night debut at 7 p.m. Nov. 6 in the Barton Fine Arts Auditorium.

Just in time to follow up Halloween, “Horror Movie Survival Guide”, a comedy, looks at some of the Hollywood horror clichés and shows how these situations could be avoided by following some helpful tips.

Sophomore Jorden Drimmel wrote the play with input from his classmates. After the group began to discuss what they would like to see in the production Drimmel took pieces from the group's ideas, and a few of his own, which led them to “Horror Movie Survival Guide”.

“We wanted 13 cliché scenes from horror films such as when they split up,” he said. “Once we had those scenes I began writing lines based on ideas we generated for those scenes.”

Theatre Major and freshman Jessica Pfortmiller took on the role of director to bring Drimmel’s script to life on the Barton stage. Dr. Abel was going through the different roles needing to be filled for the production when Pfortmiller decided to take on a different role to step outside her comfort zone of acting. The role of director came up and she jumped on the opportunity. Soon she came to understand the difficulties of the role but says she learned many lessons from them.

“The biggest challenge has been time management,” she said. “It has helped me see what all of the production crew goes through: seeing how much behind the scenes work there is and making sure everyone is here every night and getting the script ready.”

Freshman actor Alyxius Torres wrote the lyrics and choreographed the dance for the original song performed at the end of the show.

“With the theme, it became easy and natural for me to want the victims and the killers to come together and have a finale with a song,” she said. “I began writing lyrics and then composing music with Director of Instrumental Music Steve Lueth and from there, it began to mesh and work perfectly. With the addition of choreography and a few solos, it became a really good comedic musical number to end the show.”

Dr. Abel said he believes through this experiential learning the students grow in their knowledge and skills. Something that first-year students at four-year schools don’t always get.

“Barton believes in experiential opportunities for our students, and in the theatre program I encourage my first-year students to be involved as much as possible,” Theatre Director Dr. Rick Abel said. “This year I have a first-year student directing and another one writing songs. What a great opportunity for first-year students to have at Barton.”

Cast members (from left) Arika Bieberle and Kara Van Vleet rehearse in the Barton Fine Arts Auditorium.
Cast members (from left) Arika Bieberle and Kara Van Vleet rehearse in the Barton Fine Arts Auditorium.