Fall is approaching, and students are already moving back into the dorms. That means fall semester auditions are about to start at local universities. And although Carlow University in Oakland doesn’t have a theatre degree program, they have an impressive drama group putting on several must-see shows every year. Maybe I’m a bit biased because Carlow is my alma mater and I have spent many hours upon that stage, but Carlow’s shows are consistently underrated. Because there is no dedicated theatre major, all the work that goes into each show is on a volunteer basis. The students that come together to spent hours rehearsing, building sets, and performing are all doing it because they love the art. They give up their free time to make these shows happen, and it really shows in the craft they present.
Carlow’s theatre director and professor Steve Fatla has overseen the theatre group at Carlow for many years now, and his enthusiasm for the art is what keeps the group alive and thriving. I can personally say that working with this group is always a fun and rewarding experience, even if we all have the urge to drink many alcoholic things after the shows. Carlow’s theatre group has a kind of closeness that I don’t often see in other theatrical organizations I’ve worked for in Pittsburgh. It’s not a job, it’s a passion.
One great example of how this group bonds is the annual alumni show. Once a year, all alum are invited to come back and audition for a show or to work on the crew in some aspect. This fall will be Carlow’s tenth annual alumni show. The first was Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing in 2008. It was an all-female cast, which was intentional! Carlow is a mostly female campus, but this theatre group has its share of men wandering through. Since then, every year has seen a different alumni show, mixing roughly half veteran Carlow thespians with current students, both on stage and back stage. Everyone helps build the sets, and everyone helps tear down the sets before a cast party on the final night.
This year’s alumni show will be Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, the hilarious and dark take on what happens to Shakespeare’s characters when they’re not on stage during Hamlet. Steve Fatla will be directing, and as always there will be a mix of alum and student actors and crew. Auditions will happen shortly, and the show will run Oct 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, & 21 at 8pm in the Antonian Theatre on Carlow’s campus. For those of you who never seem to know where that is, get on Fifth Avenue in Oakland going away from Pitt towards town. You can’t miss it! The theatre is in the first building on the hill, but there will be signs. Tickets are $15 for this show, with discounts for students and seniors. If you want to make a reservation for this show, or if you have any questions about the show or the group, you can call the box office at 412-578-8749 or email Steve directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After the alumni show, the Carlow University Theatre Group will also be presenting their annual show of one acts. These shows are free to attend, but the material and casts have yet to be determined. You can find out more information on this show by seeing Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead in October. And keep your eyes open for future Carlow performances. You might just be surprised with what you see!
For more information about Carlow University’s Theatre Minor program, click here.