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By Miles Fritz April 30, 2021 In Theatre

Spunk

Drake Theatre is wrapping up its season with the play, Spunk. I’ve been so grateful for everything Drake Theatre Arts has been able to accomplish throughout this pandemic. If all goes well for Spunk we will have successfully produced and put on five full-length main stage productions. We’ve had a few close call moments with contact tracing and COVID scares, but we’ve always pulled. Whether it be a cast of four people or thirty-five.

Ken-Matt Martin (Picture Courtesy of The New York Times)

What makes Spunk unique this time around is that we have an alumna coming back to direct the show! Ken-Matt Martin graduated from Drake University and studied in the theatre department. Ken-Matt went on to receive his M.F.A at Brown University. Ken-Matt is doing big things in the Chicago theatre scene. Recently, he was appointed as the new Artistic Director of Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago. It’s so cool to see a Drake alumna coming back and thriving in the process.

Spunk is a play that tells three different stories all in one production. They differ in tones and tell a variety of messages. The common concept that ties these stories all together is the use of music throughout the show. The play has a few written pieces included in the script, but the cast went an extra step and included some of their own music and melodies.

Niaa Dowell in Spunk. Photo by Miles Fritz

Like previous shows this semester, Spunk has had to accommodate health and safety guidelines to help stop the spread of COVID-19. A big way that the cast of Spunk has stayed safe is by staging the show socially distant. Actors don’t ever get too close to each other. Also, everyone is wearing a performance mask, also known as a “singers mask”. A performance mask helps the voice not seem muffled through the fabric. The masks have been specially designed for each character in the show. Hopefully, sometime in the future, we won’t have to worry about singers’ masks in our shows…

I can’t wait to see what else this department is able to produce in the next two years I’m here. The pandemic seems to be slowly ending which means the emergence of audiences once again (hopefully). I miss being able to see people in those chairs clapping for us. We put so much time and energy into these shows. They deserve recognition. Catch Spunk this weekend if you are Drake fine arts student. Claim your tickets at the Drake Fine Arts Box Office.

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