Nov. 16, 2015
The French word “parterre” translated is “on the ground.” In theater, this term encompasses a diverse audience. For the students who run Parterre Stage, the same principle applies.
Parterre Stage is a subdivision of the UCCS Theatre Company that hopes to provide a higher professional standard for those interested in theater.
Students of all majors and years, including graduate students, are encouraged to be involved in productions.
The subdivision went into effect this past year after senior theater students coordinated with Kevin Landis, theater professor and program director.
“In the creation of the UCCS Theatre Company, we are creating more defined guidelines and definitions as to which shows fit into which seasons,” said Erik Brevik, senior theater major and managing director of Main Stage Season, another subdivision of the UCCS Theatre Company.
Alex Williams, senior theater major and board member of Parterre Stage, said the company wanted more organization for shows to be held professionally.
“It’s also hard to spread awareness about the company because of its location at University Hall. A lot of students don’t even know that there’s a theater over here,” he said.
Brevik said that with the sense of professionalism, many opportunities have been offered, including workshops with acclaimed actors such as Olympia Dukakis and sponsorships for services such as concessions.
Parterre Stage differs from Main Stage in that it is student run; productions are put on by students, for students.
“Having a student-run board lets us have our own identity,” Brevik said.
Parterre seeks to hold its productions in unconventional locations, including the West Lawn. “The Circus of Dreams,” held in September, is a perfect example of a Parterre show, according to Brevik.
According to Williams, Parterre Stage is mainly for creative works, as many students involved are playwrights who are looking to produce their own work. Productions can range from interpretive dance to interpretations of classical theater.
“We have a nice blend of classical works, contemporary plays and on top of that, students are encouraged to create original work,” Williams said.
Additionally, Parterre offers devised performances. A devised performance is a collaborative effort where actors create a plot based off of a dance, musical or social movement. These performances may be anythingthe student desires to produce.
“Devised performance is a creative work that is non-textual,” Brevik said. “It’s not held back by any sort of boundary or parameter of traditional, theatrical expectation.”
Students in the devised performance class, including Brevik, had the opportunity to perform at GOCA 121 along with international artist Eiko Otake. The subject of the production was based upon nuclear bombs.
“We took the themes and extrapolated them with our own physical interpretation and approach to what the work means. We wore burned clothing and we performed in the middle of the downtown area and spectators could roam around the GOCA building,” Brevik said.
Brevik encouraged students to get involved in theater, particularly Parterre. He said students don’t have to be theater majors to get involved in productions.
“Every position is encouraged to have an assistant; the great thing about an assistant capacity is that a designer on a show is encouraged to have someone who has never done it before help them,” Brevik said.
The appeal of Parterre lies in the familial atmosphere of the productions, said Williams.
“I think a huge reason people stick with it is because we all treat each other really well,” he said.