Play scene
Students rehearse a scene from the upcoming Lab Theatre production.

Obie Winning Alumnus Guiding Theatre Season’s First Production

Sept. 7, 2016

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Illinois Wesleyan University’s first theatre production of the year is a collaborative creation between Obie Award winner and alumnus Andrew Schneider ’03 and members of the School of Theatre Arts.

With a working title of Nervous/System, the performance piece has been created over the past few weeks by Schneider and the student performers and designers. It will be staged at 8 p.m. Sept. 19-21 in the E. Melba Johnson Kirkpatrick Laboratory Theatre.

“The story is revealing itself as we work on it,” said Schneider, who described the production as a sort of “neural landscape.” He noted the work has been a challenge for him and for the student performers. He said he usually has much more of an idea of a performance piece’s content than he did when arrived on campus on Aug. 26. “I wanted to challenge myself as well as challenge the students,” said Schneider. “I didn’t want to repeat anything that I’d done before, so I really wanted to keep ideas open.” The content, he said, is coming from discussions about things the student performers and designers are thinking about or are pressing upon them in their lives. “We are now well on our way,” Schneider added.  

Andrew Schneider '03 is shown here during his performance work YOUARENOWHERE, which won an Obie Award in 2015. (Photo by Maria Baranova-Suzuki)

Schneider won an Obie Award in 2015 for YOUARENOWHERE , an original performance work that New York Times theatre critic Alexis Soloski described as “a show about presence, about immediacy, about the hitches and hiccups of life in the phenomenal universe…with tech and tricks and his intensified monologues, Mr. Schneider explores the continuities and differences in the world each of us perceives.” YOUARENOWHERE was also nominated for a Drama Desk award for unique theatrical experience. Schneider is a performer, writer and interactive-electronics artist who has created original works for theatre, video and installation since 2003. He is based in Brooklyn, New York.

Students cast in Nervous/System at Illinois Wesleyan include: Megan Lai ’19 (acting major from Algonquin, Ill.); Cadence Lamb ’19 (acting major from Scottsdale, Ariz.); Paola Lehman ’19, (music theatre major from Chicago); Jean Muza ’19 (acting major from Medway, Mass.); Will Mueller ’19 (acting major from Denver); Evan Rumler ’17 (music theater major from Jacksonville, Ill.); Eli Miller ’17 (music theatre major from Charlotte, N.C.); and Anne Warnke ’19 (theatre arts major from Minneapolis).

Tickets for Nervous/System go on sale Sept. 15 at the box office inside McPherson Hall. They are $3 for the general public and $2 for students with a valid ID. The box office phone number is 309-556-3232.