With new faces, Northern theater department changes focus

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) — A new theme and new team have taken the helm of the Northern State University theater department.

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Kane Anderson, assistant professor of theater; Trevor Carrier, director of production and operations since 2017; and his wife, Jordan Jaked Carrier, lecturer of theater design; all have become the backbone of the department.

Anderson and Jaked Carrier are both new to the department.

"One of the things that drew me to this opportunity is that theater is important to this area. I'm interested in building upon what we've done," Anderson said. "Really what I love about college theater is it's an opportunity to do a lot of things."

Those include a renewed focus on the learning aspect in the department, with a wider skillset developed in those who move through the program.

"We've had a lot of focus on the product ... we're figuring out how to maintain that with bringing back the focus on the curricular," said Jaked Carrier.

"(Anderson) and I are very excited to reintroduce this program to our local community, making it very clear that we are moving in a new, exciting direction. It's going to be at the school level, the patron level," Carrier said.

The team looks at developing not just performance qualities in its students, but all elements of theater production to diversify student knowledge and experience in the process of putting on a great production, Aberdeen American News reported.

"One of my goals in the program is to increase diversity in students, but also in the projects we produce," Anderson said.

Although as a director he tends to lean more toward pieces in the classical theatrical canon, thinking from an actor's standpoint he likes newer works, especially for students. Aberdeen audiences will get a taste of new works or new approaches to old works in the university's theater season.

Mid-October will bring performances of "The Brain From Planet X," a science-fiction production with some fantastical lighting and other effects. In March will be "Lasso of Truth," a take on the creation of Wonder Woman. April will feature an operatic version of "Cinderella." With such out-of-this-world picks, Anderson thought it necessary to pull them under an overarching theme — Fierce Women, Fantastic Stories.

Also new this season, the black box theater in the Johnson Fine Arts Center will be the venue for all productions, and they are slated to run over two separate weekends, each with matinee options, to give a larger audience the chance to take them in.

The black box theater was always meant to be the main theatrical venue of the center's remodel a couple years ago, according to the Carriers and Anderson. This trio will be putting it through its paces, leaving the large auditorium for other uses.

Anderson and the Carriers know it will be different from previous seasons. And they're excited to bring that change to a community that's been very open to a range of theatrical performances through the years.

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Information from: Aberdeen American News, http://www.aberdeennews.com

An AP Member Exchange shared by the Aberdeen American News.

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