DAT Blog


New Year, New Stuff

Posted January 2, 2019

​Post by Carl Lindberg, Theatre Department Program Chair

5-minute read

First of all, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the growth during 2018 for the Theatre Department.​ This year we:

  • wrote 7 new classes to be added to the Drama curriculum in the Fall of 2019 at DMACC, something students have really been asking for. Those classes include...
    • ​Acting II
    • Improvisational Acting
    • Intro to Play Analysis (an important one, because it'll be a pre-req. for Playwriting and Directing)
    • ... Directing! (see above)
    • Performing Shakespeare​
    • Acting for the Camera
    • The Business of Acting (a course about auditioning)
  • ​produced an awesome co-production of Ghost Bike by Laura Jacqmin with Grand View University (I could ((and should)) dedicate another post to this experience)
  • added 2 clubs
    • Ankeny Theatre Ensemble
    • An Improv Club
  • increased our number of auditioners from 18 to 27
  • performed 2 staged readings
    • Miss Julie by August Strindberg
    • Endgame by Samuel Beckett
  • cast more students in productions and staged readings in the Fall of 2018 than any previous semester
  • had a very (wet and) successful second annual Summer Short Shakespeare
  • proved a play about stamps could be interesting
That all stated, we have a lot of work to do!

Spring semester 2019 will be a huge test as we have added another full play to the production calendar: The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe.

The success of our staged readings coupled with the number of students interested in theatre on campus means we can provide students with more opportunities to work in a professionally oriented environment.

In order to be successful with all productions going forward, we have added a guest director for The Wolves, Brittany Beridon, and a resident Designer and Technical Director, Rachel Trimble and Krister Strandskov.

The hope is to move from 3 plays per season (1 in the Fall, 1 in the Spring, and 1 in the Summer) to 5 (2 in the Fall, 2 in the Spring, and Summer Short Shakespeare still solo in the Summer) for the 2019-2020 school year.

By adding courses and full productions to the program, we hope to become an immediate, legitimate option for students considering theatre as a major and/or profession.

Here's to a full plate in 2019!

How It Feels to Prep for An Audition

Posted September 4, 2018

​By Alex Brown, Theatre Program Student

2 minute read.

Auditions are this Tuesday and Wednesday and it is an exciting and anxious few days as we go through this process. Now this blog post is not about HOW to prepare for an audition, but more on how it FEELS getting READY to audition.

The days leading up to an audition are filled with excitement. For me, it is all about getting excited to audition and seeing the auditions from peers because I love seeing how much my peers have grown between auditions from past shows. I start by beginning a countdown till the day of auditions, and from there the excitement starts. But as we approach the day before and the day of auditions, a new wave of emotions hit all at once.

Once they hit the day before/day of auditions, the feeling of excitement still exists, but we add anxiousness and nervousness to the mix. Auditioning may get a little easier as I continue through theatre, but, I promise that the nervousness of auditioning will always be there (because I will always be as nervous as the first time I auditioned!), so, do not feel alone if you go into auditions nervous and everyone else may seem calm, cool, and collected, because deep down, we’re all nervous in some form (it just means that you care.) There will always be worries of not making it on the cast list, the anxiousness of waiting for the cast list to go up, and the excitement to see if you got a part, which is always followed by a vast amount of emotions.

Once auditions are over, all that’s left is the anxiousness of waiting, and it is very possible to get in your head about everything. “Was that audition good enough or could have I done better?” “How is everyone else feeling right now?” “How long will it be before the list goes up?” These are just a few thoughts that go through my head after auditions end, and I’m sure it is the same for many other theatre kids.

Auditions are a wave of many emotions, but, some advice I can offer to those who are incredibly nervous for their audition: Just take a deep breath, collect yourself, and just give it your all. We got this! Good luck to my fellow people auditioning this week, let’s kill it!​

The Pros and Cons of a Memorable Performance

Posted July 17, 2018

​​​​​​​​​​​​​Post By Carl Lindberg, Theatre Department Program Chair

5-minute read.​​​


A Play is Ephemeral

​​Ah, ephemeral, a fancy word, meaning "lasting for a very short time." Synonyms ​include fleeting, passing, short-lived, momentary, brief, short...

Productions of plays are all of these things. We work hard on them for months in advance and perform them a certain number of times, only for that particular production to live on in one's memory alone.

Whether a performance is memorable or not will obviously vary from person to person, and is dependent upon a lot of factors. ​Too many factors to list here.

That being said, we had a performance of Comedy of Errors this summer that I would bet will stick around in a lot of memory banks for a while to come...


​​The Set Up...

If you've made it to this blog, you likely have a sense of what we do at DMACC Ankeny Theatre (we are a professionally-oriented theatre program) and what Summer Short Shakespeare is (a 75-minute adaptation of one of Shakespeare's plays in a non-traditional performance space). There's the extra info... sue me (not really), it's our first blog post...

So this summer (2018) we had 6 performances of Comedy of Errors in an outdoor venue with various weather:

  • Show Number 1 and Show Number 2 had marvelous weather, I mean ideal for an outdoor performance in late June in Iowa.
  • Show Number 3 looked to eascape any inclement weather... then, about an hour-and-a-half before curtain we had downpour. The cast and crew hussled through the rain to set up our backup venue. We got soaked, but the audience didn't. And this is not the most memorable performance.
  • Show Number 4 gave us extreme heat--we started the show in the 90's with humidity. The audience (our biggest) had a great time, and the cast drank a tone of water.
  • Show Number 5 was pretty nice.
  • Then we came to Show Number 6, our final performance. This is where things got interesting...


​The Memorable Performance

There was definitely rain in the area and in the forecast. I decided, in my supreme wisdom and meteorological expertise (neither of which I possess), that the weather would just miss us and we should perform outside in our usual performance space.​

You see where this is heading...

During scene 2 the wind picked up and there were a couple sprinkles. I paused the show between scenes 2 and 3. That's memorable.

We stepped into the hallways of Building 2 and checked the radar. Uh-oh. A storm was coming.

The sprinkle let up and we moved the set, props, and sound equipment into the Black Box Theatre in Building 5 across the way. Also memorable.

After our 15-minute rearrangement I gave a quick before-scene-3, in-a-new-venue curtain speech, mostly to stall, and we picked up where we had left off. Right then the deluge began.


​The Cons of a Memorable Performance

​What makes something a pro versus a con is subjective, like much in life. So take the following cons with a grain of salt.

We got a lot of rain from 7:30 pm the night of Saturday, June 30th, the moment Comedy of Errors re-started and the faucet-in-the-sky opened up. I wasn't using the term deluge as a means of exaggerative storytelling. In the next 2 hours Ankeny would get 10" of rain and it didn't stop at 9:30.

The majority of the cast stayed the night with the play's Courtezan (interesting coincidence) because many roads farther from campus were impassable.

Much of the audience got drenched getting to their cars and had scary drives home in heavy rain, that made it hard to see, and flooded roads.

It was a one-of-a-kind weather occurrence and it hit right in the middle of our play.


​The Pros of a Memorable Performance

​From all accounts, up until the time of this posting, everyone who came to the show in any capacity was safe and eventually got to where they needed to get okay.

No one really got wet while sitting outside watching the show, despite getting soaked on the way to their cars. Some audience members even helped to carry some scenery and props into the Black Box!

The show itself went great.

This was truly a unique set of circumstances to deal with for the actors, audience, and crew. While that wasn't the kind of memorable we had planned for, it's the kind of memorable we got.

And lasting memories made at the theatre are one thing we hope to create.