BREANNA MANLEY | Staff Reporter
Butler University’s theatre, dance and music departments are banding together for one night as part of the 2014 ArtsFest.
On Thursday, the departments will collaborate with one another to present “The Soldier’s Tale” under the direction of theatre professor Owen Schaub at 7:30 p.m. in the Schrott Center.
Composed by Igor Stravinsky in 1918, this tale will bring together four actors, six dancers and many musicians on one stage.
“It is a lot of fun to work with the different departments because it helps you kind of get a broad understanding of what it is going to be like to work with other people when you get out to the real world,” said Nick Gehrich, a freshman who plays the role of Soldier.
Gehrich said he was surprised to have been cast as the soldier. He will be playing alongside freshman Sarah Tam, who is cast as Princess.
“I cried,” Tam said. “I didn’t think I was going to get cast in any shows this semester. I called my mom, and she thought I didn’t get cast because I was crying. I had to stop crying long enough to tell her ‘I made it, mom.’”
“L’Histoire Du Soldat,” as it is titled in French, follows a soldier returning from war in Eastern Europe who sells his soul to the devil. The story goes on to show the soldier’s adventures after dancing with the devil.
The most difficult part of directing the show is the music, Schaub said.
“I’ve directed a number of plays and done production work for dance, opera and music works, but never directed a piece where music is such an integral part of the work,” he said.
Tam said she agrees that the music is the biggest challenge for the group as a whole, but she noted that there were other challenges as well.
“Personally, I don’t have a lot of lines, so I have to figure out how to convey the emotion of the character through physicality,” she said.
Preparation for “The Soldier’s Tale” began in mid-March. The actors and dancers rehearsed six days a week for three to four hours at a time.
Even though countless hours of rehearsals went by, the cast members did not lose focus.
“Instead of saying, ‘I have to go to rehearsal,’ I tell myself, ‘I get to go to rehearsal,’” Gehrich said. “I get to work on my craft, because it’s something I really love to do.”
While the students are working to perfect their performances to be at their best on stage, some said nerves will come moments before the lights come up.
“I get really nervous right before I go on stage and have a lot of nervous energy, so I always have to jump up and down backstage,” Tam said. “I try not to psych myself out.”
Whether nervous or not, Schaub said he wants to see his performers succeed.
“It is my profession, and I have great affection for our students, and I hope I make some contribution to their development as they become adults,” Schaub said. “It’s always challenging, but it’s very rewarding. It’s the best job in the world.”