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Rose-Hulman Students Relish the Applause on Hatfield Hall Stage
May 6, 2011
As the house lights came up on the final dress rehearsal,
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Drama Club Director Bunny Nash
gave the cast some last-minute instructions and a bit of
"Relish the time that you have to receive the applause," she
says to the student actors, many of whom are graduating
seniors. The Drama Club's production of the comedy musical
"The Drowsy Chaperone" will be the seniors' last performance
opportunity to hear that applause. The show will be presented
Thursday, Friday and Saturday, starting at 7:30 p.m., in the
Hatfield Hall Theater.
Gotta Dance: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology students
showcase their dancing skills in the musical "The Drowsy Chaperone"
on the Hatfield Hall Theater stage. (Photo Courtesy of Bill
For Nash, part of the job involves casting students in roles
which showcase their personalities and talents, and helping them
create memorable characters. "It's really tough for me when
the students graduate and move on to start their careers because I
have such fun working with them on productions," she says.
"Although I'm technically the director, I'm also the ultimate
'stage mom'," she adds.
"I've done two (shows) a year since I was a freshman," computer
engineering senior Alice Forehand says of her Rose-Hulman Drama
Club experience. In this show, Forehand plays female lead
Janet Van De Graaf, a celebrity chorus girl who is marrying the
hapless son of an oil baron in this show-within-a-show.
"Janet is a very animated actress who is leaving a successful
career to marry a man she just met," she says of her role, "She's
very big, emotional and fun.
"I originally thought of myself as more of a dancer," explains
Forehand, who began tap and ballet at the age of three. But a
drama camp experience in elementary school sparked a love of the
theater arts, and she soon began acting in productions in her
hometown of Rockville, Md. "It's fun to be people not like
Forehand's decision to attend Rose-Hulman was sealed when she
attended the drama club's spring musical while visiting the campus
during her senior year in high school. She has enjoyed the
ability to express her talents on stage as well as in the
classroom. Following graduation, she will be joining the
Peace Corps teaching either math or science. "I had a really
inspirational math teacher in high school who taught math in Kenya
for the Peace Corps and he loved it. I decided it was
something I wanted to do, and I realized that if I was going to,
now seemed like the best time," she says of her post-graduate
|Elaborate Sets: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Drama
Club productions are known for their spectacular sets. "The
Drowsy Chaperone" is no exception with an airplane and other
elaborate set designs complementing the excellent acting, singing
and dancing talents on stage. (Photo Courtesy of Bill
I've done theater since my sophomore year of high school,"
explains electrical engineering senior Marc Pardee. "This is
quite a step up from high school," he notes of "The Drownsy
Chaperone," which includes Jazz Age dance numbers, top hats and
tails, a tap dance sequence, and a biplane prop which was
custom-made for the show.
Pardee's character, Man in Chair, is the play's theater buff
narrator, whose persnickety observations, mingled with a fond
enthusiasm and clever quips punctuate the performance. "You
hear the static?" he asks as he begins to play the cast album of
his favorite old-time musical, "I love that sound. To me it's
the sound of a time machine starting up." Audience
members soon find that they, too, have been transported by that
audio time machine to a 1928 production of "The Drowsy
"What I like about the Man in Chair is that he captures a lot of
how I view theater. He gets really sucked into the show, and
it doesn't matter how many times he's seen it or heard it," Pardee
explains. Upon graduation, the drama club president will be
working for the U.S. Department of
Alex Cochrane smiles when discussing his role as Aldolpho, the
show's scene-stealing wannabe Latin lothario. "He really
plays himself up to be the Cassanova type character but in reality
he's clumsy and loud," says the sophomore applied biology major
from Bloomfield, Ind.
The gullible, unsuspecting Aldolpho is duped into attempting to
seduce the bride in a plot to stop the wedding.
"I'm sure that you have heard the name Aldolpho," Cochrane's
character belts as he strikes a flamboyant pose, "The ladies' man
who wins acclaim, Aldolpho!" he sings with a flourish of his
cape. "With what the writers gave me," Cochrane says of his
role, it's very easy for his comedic character to steal the
scene. "I kind of feel bad for the other people," he
chuckles, because he does kind of get all the attention."
Rose-Hulman's Drama Club is more than just another
extracurricular for its members and director. "I do look to
the drama club as a very good set of friends," Cochrane says,
adding that it's "more of a family" than just a campus
Nash adds: "Over the years, I've worked with numerous students
who could have pursued a career in the arts. They chose to
come to Rose-Hulman because they knew that they would be able to
get a first-class engineering and science education and be able to
participate in the arts as a bonus."