Schuster Theatre prepares actors for horror fest


Every October around Halloween at the Schuster Theatre, the actors and technicians put together a show known as “Stage Fright.” The past few years, “Stage Fright” has been turning the Schuster Theatre into a haunted house.

This year, Gannon’s theatre department decided to do something different. “Stage Fright” will be “The Play Fest of Fear,” which showcases five student-written plays entirely directed by Gannon theatre students.

The five horror plays in this year’s event are “Jack the Ripper,” by sophomore theatre and communication arts major Cassie Bielecki; “Remaining,” “The Statistic” and “True Love,” by junior theatre major Michael Haas; and “They Want Blood,” by junior journalism communication major Aaron Mook.

The three student directors are sophomore communication arts major Megan Hamm, senior theatre and communication arts major Jenna Sulecki and senior theatre and communication arts major Zak Westfall.

The entire “Play Fest of Fear,” is produced by Haas.

Junior theatre and communication arts major Tom Barton, who plays Three in “Remaining,” said he thinks it’s a really cool idea to do a horror fest entirely made up of student-written and directed plays.

“It’s almost like a Fringe Fest 2.0, and incorporating the horror aspect is fun, and I can’t wait to see how it plays out,” Barton said.

“The Play Fest of Fear,” focuses on student-written, directed and produced work.

Barton said he is excited to see how a show of entirely original student work plays out.

“It’s been a lot of work just because this is still a mainstage show, but working with other cast members from “Remaining,” and “Stage Fright,” as a whole, and I am really excited to see the finished product this coming weekend,” Barton said.

The stage manager of “The Play Fest of Fear,” sophomore advertising communication major Allie Leng, said she thinks there is a lot of good student-produced work in the Gannon community.

“It is well-written, and a lot of it is well beyond the students who produced and wrote the shows,” Leng said.

Almost every student production at The Schuster Theatre has student designers.

Senior occupational therapy major Bryan Rhines designed the costumes for “The Play Fest of Fear.”

“It was a very interesting experience to learn about clothing from the Victorian time period for ‘Jack the Ripper,’” Rhines said. “Most of the other shows are contemporary so we had most of the actors bring in their own clothing for those shows, but I really enjoyed it. It has been a good experience for me.”

Rhines had watched many of the rehearsals when fitting the actors with costumes.

“I feel like the actors are really coming along with bringing out the horror potential that these shows have,” Rhines said “The scripts themselves do not scare the audience. It is up to the actors to bring horror depending on how they interpret the script.”

Many people are excited to see student-written, produced, directed and designed work at The Schuster Theatre.

“I think it is an awesome experience for these young directors,” Rhines said. “It would give them the opportunity to interpret these student-written pieces.”

“I think it is cool that we have something that is student-oriented.”

“The Play Fest of Fear,” opens with performances at 8 p.m., 10 p.m. and midnight Friday and Saturday. It will also run the following weekend at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Oct 30-31. For tickets and box office information, call 814-871-7494.



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