Passion and belief: UNL Theatrix members keep doing what they love

Produced by Zach Penrice, NewsNetNebraska

  • Actor Max McCutcheon jumps out like a flower during the opening scene of 'Nebraska Nice'

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is known for many things. They have a nationally-known football program, outstanding engineering school and a brand-new business building.

On a campus as large as Nebraska’s, there are dozens of clubs, organizations and groups, some of which get more recognition than others. But nonetheless, those who participate in those smaller less-known clubs are just as passionate as anyone.

About Theatrix

One of those organizations is Theatrix, a student-run theater company that operates out of the Johnny Carson School of Theater and Art. The small number of students involved exhibit a drive and passion that is second-to-none.

“I think that groups like Theatrix that produce art are important on this campus and on any campus,” Theatrix artistic director Katie Triplett said. “Without art, we have no ability to express ourselves, our ideas or individualities.”

Triplett mentioned her appreciation for art’s ability to bring people together as a whole. Theatrix frequently accomplishes this. The organization put on a show in late October titled ‘Nebraska Nice,’ a play that is filled to the brim with Nebraska jokes and plenty of fun.

Max McCutcheon, one of the actors in the play, was responsible for performing 11 different roles. Anything from a police officer, to man who is in love with a horse named Marybell.

“It makes it easy with the directors writing each scene so different from one another so that I could see the different personality in each character,” McCutcheon said. “Before each scene, I’ll look at my character and think of a situation that I’ve been in that my character would be in.”

It’s little rituals like that, that can drive an actor to success. As mentioned, the most unique thing about Theatrix is that it is entirely student-run. The writers, designers, directors, actors and everything else are all UNL students.

The writers of ‘Nebraska Nice’ Lindsey Parodi and Hunter Mruz love and appreciate the opportunity that Theatrix gave them to see their original work come to life.

“As the directors, it’s always nice to have that outside look where you have someone who can see how the show is going as a whole and can work in molding it together,” Mruz said. “Since we wrote it, we know what we were thinking and how certain things should look and so we can communicate that to the cast directly,” Parodi said.

Importance of theater

In the weeks leading up to the performance, rehearsal would add up to be around 20-30 hours each week. That’s a lot of time especially for a group of full-time college students. But according to freshman Hilda Rey, it’s the ultimate goal that drives everyone to keep going every day.

“I really do think that the foundation of theater is most important,” Rey said. “And that’s why I would love to work with young actors and have the opportunity to get better like I have here.”

The theater industry is traditionally one of the most competitive, especially for young adults just finishing college who understand the harsh realization that it is tough to make it. That doesn’t stop these UNL students from doing what they believe they were born to do, and it’s that tenacious drive that could be the difference down the road.

Doing what you love

“Everyone who works on Theatrix has such a bright spirit, joy and creativity and they bring such light and positivity to the work that it makes my job so easy,” Triplett said. “I get to help people create but they want to create and that is really fulfilling.”

The student run aspect of Theatrix is what draws students in. Every person in the organization exhibits the same overflowing love and passion for theater. And it’s that love that brings the students closer together, where it doesn’t even feel like work. It feels like family.

“Theatrix is just the students and it feels like there’s a lot more passion that goes into this,” Rey said. “From the beginning, everyone is here for you. Since it’s a smaller operation, it’s more like a family and that’s so important for us at this age.”

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