PAB is MIA

By By Gabrielle Gaston

By Gabrielle Gaston

So the weekend finally rolls around, and scores of U students are racking their brains and consulting their magic 8-balls for a cheap, legal and hopefully refreshment-laden activity. Short of crashing a well-catered wake or wedding, the result is often a movie.

Is it possible, however, that there exists an evening activity, cheaper than a movie, filled to the brim with entertainment and all the snack foods a young metabolism can tackle?

Yes, yes there is. Unfortunately, most students at the U are entirely in the dark.

For those who aren’t at all aware, there does exist a form of live entertainment-known as theater. For those in the know, a play is just as exciting as a movie. Keeping in mind some recent cinematic releases (i.e. “Night at the Museum”), plays are often considerably more enlightening, as well. Where might a bright, young student looking to be both entertained and enlightened go to see a play? Three simple letters: PAB, also known as the Performing Arts Building-home to the U’s very own theater department.

Each year, the theater department pours all its effort, and even more of its already lacking funds, into producing wonderful shows. The plays range from hilarious musicals to dramas about cancer. This season even features an entirely student-written show with plays that might just successfully combine musicals and cancer! The shows are mentioned in local papers and entertain various numbers of Salt Lake City citizenry. The problem is, however, the theater department has heartbreakingly low student attendance.

When asked why this could be, students didn’t respond with any sort of dislike for live theater, or even a lack of support for the “thespian lifestyle.”

“I love theater,” junior pre-business major Carrie Schaefer said. “I have even taken a couple classes.”

The overwhelming student response to why attendance at plays produced on campus is so low was an utter lack of information.

“I always hear about the shows, like, a week after they close,” freshman pre-biology major Tyrone Brown said.

It seems U students, from freshmen to the coveted rank of super-senior, are open to the idea of seeing a play, but feel out of the “theatrical loop” (not to be confused with the regular loop–this one has an intermission).

In the interest of bringing the rest of the U into the fold, here are some essential morsels of knowledge for those seeking to dabble in the dramatic:

-The theater department puts on shows throughout the year, starting in September and ending in April.

-The shows range in content, genre and intensity, with at least one musical per season. Basically, this means there are plays out there for everyone, and they’re all easier to relate to than “The Fountain.”

-The theater department has two different venues. The Babcock Theater is downstairs in the Pioneer Memorial Theater building. Studio 115 is in the PAB, which is next to the Campus Bookstore. It used to be covered in ivy, but now it’s just covered in lines like Liza Minelli, sans Botox.

-Ticket prices run at about $5 for students, which is a steal. While it doesn’t beat the dollar movies, you can watch without the nagging worry of what that stuff on your seat may be if it’s not a Junior Mint…

-Tickets are available at the door or at Kingsbury Hall Box Office.

-The dress is casual. There may not even be a shoes and shirt requirement.

-The etiquette is pretty basic. Don’t talk when the actors are on stage; they can hear it and startle easily. Don’t text message; cell phones interfere with the sound systems and enjoyment of the performance.

-Don’t be afraid to laugh or respond out loud; short of booing or tomato throwing, actors thrive on validation.

-Don’t feel like prior knowledge of the show is necessary, but if it helps, the theater department Web site has information and pretty pictures!

-Feel free to visit the Web page, www.theater.utah.edu. You can gather all sorts of information without having to become acquainted with the suspicious smell that sometimes permeates the PAB.

Try something new. If it’s terrible, at least you’ll have pages of blog fodder for MySpace.

So with an entirely new semester’s worth of weekends ahead, give U theater a “go.” You may just discover old Willy Shakespeare was onto something when he said, “The play’s the thing.”