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The Antelope

The Antelope

The Antelope

Student writer plays off of feedback before radio spot

issue 3 cover


Billy Deardoff’s “Roy Gets Played” received a public reading workshop in the UNK Studio Theater last weekend. Students gathered to read through the script in front of a faculty panel before a question-and-answer feedback session.

Deardoff, a super senior majoring in theater and graphic design, fielded questions from faculty and students in an effort to test the script gather notes for adjustments.

“After doing a lot of it in my room, by myself, trying to find out if this works or not, I needed to know if an audience would accept it,” said Deardoff. “This readthrough helped me see it be done with actual characters as well as get a response from not only the audience but also the people who were actually playing the roles.”

The script follows Deardoff’s original character Roy, who had previously debuted in “Drifting Beyond” radio series produced by Theater of the Mind on KLPR. Deardoff began working on the character and developed a spin off series titled “The Roy Chronicles,” which has been one of the longest running series on the Theater of the Mind catalogue.

“Roy Gets Played” begins five weeks before the first episode of “The Roy Chronicles” and follows him as he navigates the world of Amard (drama backwards) and comes into contact with the nefarious Spearshake- all while the mysterious voice inside his head guides him through his sudden amnesia. The full readthrough covered three acts as student actors made their way through over two hours of material.

Darin Himmerich, Director of the Theater Program and the driving force behind Theater of the Mind, was on the faculty panel and helped organize the event. “You need a public reading so that you can hear it,” Himmerich said. “You can read it again and again in your head and you get the same thing because you know what you’re saying. Other people reading it, other people hearing it, asking questions, and now all of a sudden you see all the holes that maybe you missed.”

The feedback session was composed of four faculty members, including Himmerich; Janice Fronczak, the playwriting professor within the theatre department; Audio Director David Greenberg; and Dance Program Director Noelle Bohaty; as well as the student actors. Discussion ranged from questions about character motivation and worldbuilding consistency to meta questions about the story’s message and audience.

“Next I’ll be going back and looking at all the notes and getting an idea of what people missed,” Deardoff said. “Walking into this, I was nervous because I didn’t know what people would say or think. In a way I wanted it to be very negative because that helps you build something.”

Deardoff says he wants to get more students interested in writing plays and workshopping with other students. Playwriting remains an important way to communicate stories in modern entertainment, even with the increasingly lucrative competition from the realm of electronic entertainment. “I think writing is something I want to keep helping find that they’re good at. Hopefully they can use that skill some way out there in the world.”

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