Univ. Communications – After staging its first production this semester, The Opposite of People (TOOP) at the University of Rochester is already making plans to follow up its success with another show. TOOP is the only student-run theatre troupe on campus, and serves as an alternative venue for theatrical performances that are totally directed, produced, and performed by students. Its first play of the semester, Baby with the Bathwater, has just wrapped up its three shows, and the troupe is setting its sights on the next production.
Each semester, TOOP stages two to three plays. Baby with the Bathwater had three performances on Oct. 27, Oct. 28, and Oct. 30. Written by American playwright Christopher Durang, it’s a surreal, provocative play that highlights some of the absurd features of modern parenting. When asked why they decided to stage this play in particular, freshman Nate Damon said, “The play is so strange and weird, but at the same time it’s accessible and easy to just sit and watch. It’s hilarious and any audience can enjoy it, but it has that factor of being different that we love.”
TOOP is especially remarkable on campus for the dedication of its students. Its members are marked by a commitment to the arts and their enthusiasm for their productions. Although it collaborates frequently the Theatre Department, it’s the group members who drive the productions. Take Five Scholar James Eles ’11 calls it “A real student collaboration. Members nominate plays that they’d like to direct, which they produce and then perform. When one of our own writes a play, we all contribute by running it through workshops. The final result is a grown, living piece.”
So what’s next? TOOP is working on its next production, Threading, a modern take on the Greek myth of the three Fates. “This is my first experience with a student-written work, and it’s exciting. The work is organic and constantly evolving, and when we recently cemented the script, the possibilities started exploding. There’s really nothing else like a new work.” says Damon, who plays Moros, the Greek god of Doom. “We’re already super excited!”
Threading will be performed on at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17 and Friday, Nov. 18, with a matinee at 3 p.m. on the Sunday, Nov. 19. The show take place in Todd Theatre and entrance is free.
Article written by Dan Wang, a sophomore at Rochester, who studies philosophy and economics. Photos courtesy of TOOP.