CET’s New Thrust Stage
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Clarence Collins stood there, his breath panting, the words flowing from his mouth effortlessly. “Yes, we have a thrust stage, and it’s really cool,” Collins said, with a glint in his eye. He’s referring to the new stage that is gracing Craft Theater right now, the cleanly assembled wooden stage sits in the center of the room and juts out from the main stage.
CET (Community Ensemble Theater) is performing “Fiddler on the Roof” next weekend (March 18, 19), and the following weekend (March 25, 26). This new stage creates a whole new aspect to the play. Their rendition includes a “thrust stage.” The non-traditional stage sticks out from the main stage into the audience, with audience members watching from each of the sides of the peninsula. This adds an element of nuance for both the audience and the performers. Clarence Collins III, CET cast member and CHS (Community High School) junior, will be playing the role of Tevye, and said that the new stage is really different.
“I’m used to having just an almost one dimensional plane to work with, because I have to do a lot of movement laterally,” Collins said. “Now there’s a lot of movements that I have to do circularly and there’s a lot of different things you have to account for, because everybody paid the same amount for their ticket, so you have to make sure you’re giving enough to everybody else. It’s really difficult when you’re used to only performing one way and then now you have to perform completely two other ways.”
Lia Kahan, CET board member and part of the ensemble for “Fiddler on the Roof”, said that it adds an element of wary for the actors as well.
“We really have to change blocking, so that if you’re standing you aren’t preventing audience members from being able to see what’s going on,” Kahan said. “Because if everyone’s just standing up, people don’t know whats going on, because they’re just seeing people’s butts!”
The stage is made from the wood of old 4-foot platforms used in past CET shows. Miles Schwartz, CHS senior and CET assistant crew head, said you’d be surprised at how quickly the stage was really built.
”The thrust stage in of itself actually took only a day to build, we actually got it all down a few Saturdays back.” Schwartz said that the decking process was really what took a while, about two weeks to be specific.
CET is known for selling out its shows quickly, so this year, they’ve added an extra weekend of shows. Makela Lynn, CHS senior and CET stage manager, mentioned that the stage factors into this.
“Our stage is really big so we did lose some seats,” Lynn said, “doing the two weekends makes up for that, but we’re definitely easily gonna sell out both weekends.”
Kahan mentions that CET hasn’t done a thrust stage this large during her time as a member of CET, and that she’s excited for it.
“It’s also cool because there is more audience interactions, there are a couple times when you’re kinda getting in people’s faces, it’s just cool,” said Kahan. “But not too intense. We don’t want to make people uncomfortable.”
Kahan encourages everyone to come see the show, she’s one of many who think it’ll be one of the best CET shows in a long time.
You can buy tickets to the show on ShowTix4U.com, just search “Fiddler on the Roof” and look for Community Ensemble Theater. You can also buy tickets from any CET members in the halls of Community High School.