Lab Theatre Staging “Pluto was a Planet”

PosterOct. 22, 2015

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— The Illinois Wesleyan University School of Theatre Arts (SoTA) will present a lab theatre production of Pluto was a Planet by Laura Jacqmin Oct. 30- Nov. 1.

Pluto was a Planet focuses on two Ivy League college students who are selected one night for an exclusive secret society. In order to join, however, they must complete a series of challenges for two current members of the society, and the final challenge causes all involved to question how much they are willing to sacrifice in the name of membership.

The play is directed by Caitlin McManus ’16 (Elmhurst, Ill.), a theatre arts and business double major at IWU. McManus is excited for the directing opportunity, praising the lab theatre as a “space [that] has allowed me to take risks as an artist in an academic setting that I wouldn’t be able to get elsewhere.” The creative team for the production is entirely made up of students, allowing them to get valuable experience in the fields they intend to pursue after graduation, according to McManus. She said the commitment and collaboration necessary to stage the play may be the most formative experience of her undergraduate career.

The production team for the show includes Connor O. Speck ’17 as costume designer, Kelcie Mortell ’16 as lighting designer, Selena Greising ’16 as stage manager, and scenic design by alumna Sydney Achler ’15. The actors include Hailey Lechelt ’18 (Cecilia), Dean Carlson ’17 (Abe), Jenia Head ’17 (Sabrina), and Bucky Emmerling ’16 (Eugene).

Pluto was a Planet addresses difficult issues that are faced frequently by many college students, according to McManus. “Pluto isn’t a nice story,” she said. “I hope that this piece can start some difficult conversations [and] inspire the beginnings of positive change.”

Curtain time is 8 p.m. in the E. Melba Johnson Kirkpatrick Laboratory Theatre. Tickets are available during the week of the performance at the McPherson Box Office or by calling (309) 556-3232, and are $3 each for general admission and $2 for students with a valid student I.D.

By Lydia Hartlaub ’16