Theatre department continues productions


Cast members Chelsie Jeffries as Mrs. Alvings (left), Michael Rivera as Oswald Alvings (middle), and Carly Ball as Regina Engstrand during rehearsal for Henrik Ibsen’s production, “Ghosts”. The play will show at Southern’s Bud Walton Black Box Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 3-6. Courtesy photo

Victoria Gaytan Editor-in-chief

Editor’s Note: This is the third of a series of stories looking into the issues surrounding the theatre department.

Even with the recent quandary regarding the state of the Missouri Southern theatre department, students and faculty members are working to bring the latest show to stage.

Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen, is one of three productions being staged this year by the department. It opens Wednesday, Oct. 3, for performances through Saturday, Oct. 6.

The production indicts Victorian society and refutes the ideology of one solely fulfilling their duties, they will have a good and noble life, rather than seeking out their desires. 

The cast, led by Dr. Jim Lile, is composed of five students: Carly Ball, Damon Fox, Chelsie Jeffries, Austin Henady and Michael Rivera. 

The cast describe the play as a deep production. 

“The playwright, [Henrik] Ibsen, is all about people, and writing about that…more about people’s lives,” said Ball, who is cast as Regina Ensgstrand. 

Jeffries, who plays Mrs. Alving agrees.

“Even the supporting characters have…a deep history and past,” Jeffries said. “Like the show couldn’t go on without any of us.” 

Austin Henady, cast as Pastor Manders, describes the play as Ibsen’s self-healing process, as the playwright was rather self-reflective of his own past and his own ghosts. 

Since the show is set in the 19th century, the cast members memorize the lines verbatim because the vernacular is different from current language usage. 

“Just by changing one word, you can change entirely how someone sees how the show is,” said Michael Rivera, who plays Oswald Alving. 

The cast said they are excited for opening night. 

“We’ve worked really hard,” said Ball. “We’ve studied these characters a lot, and really went in depth. I think each one of us has an emotional connection to each one of our characters.”

Although Henady’s first impression of his character was not what he expected, he expressed his appreciation for the role, describing the character as a very one-note, strict personality. 

“He is the pastor of honor and duty, this is the way you’re supposed to do things, this is how it’s supposed to be, and if you go outside these lines, you’re wrong,” Henady said, describing his character. “The more you get into it – him as a person, you’re like, ‘no, this is just a shell he puts up. He’s very much a human being underneath.’”

 Henady said when he first read the script, he hated his character.

“I’ve known people like him,” Henady said. “Reading it more, it’s like, I can see where he’s coming from. I relate to this sort of mindset.”

Jeffries said the cast had to step into their characters, and learn their intentions.

“Even if they’re the villain, you need to think like them and their intentions or you’re going to play the part wrong,” Jeffries said. “You can’t hate your own character.” 

Henady agreed with Jeffries assessment.

“No matter what, you have to play true to them, not what you believe,” Henady said. 

In the end, Ball said, the cast developed “a little bit of sympathy” for each character.

Directed by Dr. Jim Lile, theatre department chair, the production will take place at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 3 to Saturday, Oct. 6, in the Bud Walton Black Box Theatre on the Missouri Southern campus. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students and seniors.