SIUE Theater Students Raise Hell (and Heaven) Over Winter Break

While many SIUE students and faculty were enjoying a much deserved break over the holidays several were hard at work constructing sets for the March production of Edwin Penhorwood’s, “Too Many Sopranos.”

“Too Many Sopranos,” will go on stage for two nights only (March 22 and 23) although the students performing are already working on perfecting their performances. The opera is a comical two act piece in which a group of sopranos must audition for the one remaining spot on the heavenly choir, eventually the group ventures into hell to rescue more basses and tenors to balance things out above.

Courtney Brenner and Natasha Kesseler spent a good chunk of their break working with Marc Shapman (Department of Music) and Roger Speidel (Department of Theater and Dance) on the construction of musical versions of the pearly gates of heaven and a terrifying hell mouth. The sets needing to be constructed over winter break due to the rapid turn around of the show between other performances this spring. For this reason the the students faced the challenge of designing sets that needed to be small enough to be collapsed out of the way of other larger set pieces and durable enough to last until needed.

“We’ve worked every day since the day after Christmas except for new years,” Brenner shared, “It’s more like playing than anything else to me.”

Brenner and Kesseler’s involvement in the project was made possible by an Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (URCA) grant. URCA is a unique program that allows students from all disciplines to apply their knowledge in a real world setting while earning a stipend and course credit.

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