K-State Theatre presents ‘evolving’ opera, ‘Speed Dating Tonight!’

(Photo Illustration by Marcella Brooks | Collegian Media Group)

“Speed Dating Tonight!” is a musical comedy opera written by American composer Michael Ching. A production of the opera ran from March 8 to March 11 in the Mark A. Chapman Theatre under the direction of Reginald Pittman, professor in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance.

The show, based on a concept by Dean Anthony, featured 20 lonely-hearted speed daters hoping to find a significant other. The opera did not match the usual criteria of the genre, instead running for about an hour in length and presenting each performance as different from the one before.

Quinton Church, graduate student in vocal performance, played the role of Bartender.

“It’s a modular work made up of numerous short solo and duet vignettes in no fixed order, any number of which could be used for a given production,” Church said.

Church said while performing without a set-in-stone plot can be a challenging task for some actors, the cast was able to adapt to performing a piece that centers around constant evolution.

“We’ve all taken the opportunity to create our own personal stories for our characters,” Church said. “The lack of a firm plot just gives us a chance to dig into our craft.”

Michelle Stottmann, freshman in music education, joined the “Speed Dating Tonight!” crew as the assistant stage manager. She said she really enjoyed working with every part because it allowed her to watch “the whole process come together.”

“Originally, I did this to see if I wanted to stage manage,” Stottmann said. “I think it was a good experience, and it definitely taught me a lot about the production side of theatre.”

“Speed Dating Tonight!” was one of the seven main stage productions put on by the K-State Theatre each year, which have the full support of the faculty, staff and production shops. Additionally, K-State Theatre puts on four second stage productions a year, which are typically directed, designed, performed and staffed entirely by students.

For more information on K-State theatre performances, visit http://www.k-state.edu/theatre/.