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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

MUPS command a stage of their own

Even when the Helfaer Theatre is empty, there may be another stage occupied with Marquette actors, waiting to tell a story.

MUPS is currently preparing for their upcoming production, "King Chemo." Photo courtesy of MUPS.

The Marquette University Players Society (MUPS) is one of the oldest student organizations on campus. MUPS often produces four to five shows each year, all of which are student-driven. Unlike performances at the Helfaer, MUPS performs in the Straz Tower Theater, making its productions a bit smaller and more intimate.

Members of MUPS  like to emphasize the important role students play in producing its shows, as their efforts are what make the shows interesting in spite of being smaller in size.

To be a member of MUPS, you do not have to be a serious actor or theater major. You simply have to have an interest in performing and a passion to get involved. Whether you are an engineer or a psychology major, MUPS can make room for your talents.

“MUPS is open to all students, and it hopes to bring students together with a love of theatrical production and performance,” said Alexandra Bonesho, a senior in the College of Communication and the company manager for MUPS.

MUPS creates a sense of camaraderie among members and those interested in becoming involved by hosting different events throughout the year, encouraging people to get more acquainted with the organization.

In the beginning of the year, MUPS holds a barbeque to welcome back returning students and greet new freshmen. MUPS then concludes the first semester with a Christmas party where members donate items to the House of Peace Community Center. The group wraps up the entire year with “MUPSFest,” an event where members dress up and enjoy catered food on the main stage at Helfaer Theatre.

“MUPSFest” is an opportunity to celebrate the contributions both students and faculty have made to the organization throughout the year. Bonesho believes these events help get the MUPS name out into the Marquette community.

“The shows are student-run and on a smaller stage,” said Tyler Frost, a sophomore in the College of Communication and the publicist for MUPS. “It’s more laid-back. Students shouldn’t be afraid to audition.”

Auditions are held prior to each MUPS production and usually require of a prepared monologue, impromptu readings and occasionally a song, if necessary. However, MUPS members are able to do so much more than just perform on stage.

Students are encouraged to not only audition for acting roles, but also to write, direct, stage manage, design costumes and handle the technical aspects of putting on a production.  Even small things like selling candy during the intermission of mainstage productions at the Helfaer are greatly appreciated.

Since MUPS is student-driven, any task a student can do helps make it a better organization.

Only recently has MUPS moved from working as a standard student organization to a more traditional theater company structure. There are now students serving as artistic director, company manager, technical director and publicist. The new change has helped bring more order and a sense of professionalism to the group according to Frost.

One of the biggest changes MUPS has made with its new leadership is developing themes for its current and upcoming seasons. The MUPS 2011-2012 season productions of “A Musical Revue,” directed by students Kelsey Lauren and Kaitlyn Barrett, “Great Falls,” also directed by Kelsey Lauren, and the upcoming  “King Chemo,” directed by Kathryn DeLapp, all fall under this year’s theme of  “Detours.”

“The theme has been seen in all of our productions, given that the characters overcome hardships through both comedic and dramatic relationships and dialogue,” Bonesho said.

Bonesho believes the theater and performing arts culture at Marquette has evolved greatly since her freshmen year. The Department of Performing Arts continues to bring interesting pieces to the Helfaer, and professors sometimes work theater shows into their syllabus.

With Marquette’s community becoming more interested in what the arts have to offer, MUPS becomes the perfect outlet for students wanting to try theater out regardless of how much or how little experience they have.

“I have been a MUPS member since my freshman year, and I am forever grateful to the organization because it provided me with my first acting role at Marquette,” said Bonesho, whose first role was Lisabette in “Anton in Show Business.”

MUPS is now currently planning its end of the year benefit that will take place in May at the Helfaer Theatre. The group hopes to continue defining its place among Marquette’s performing arts community as an intriguing forum for storytelling and imagination.

MUPS upcoming production, “King Chemo,” hopes to further that idea.

“King Chemo” is the story of Kevin, a 10-year-old boy with leukemia and an active imagination. Kevin believes his leukemia is actually a plot by the “Powers That Be” to control all children. While receiving chemo, Kevin meets Melissa, another 10-year-old who isn’t quite convinced by Kevin’s theory. Throughout the show, the two children explore Kevin’s imagination and eventually come to terms with their difficult situations.

The runtime is only about an hour, the standard for most of MUPS productions, making it easy to see a quick, yet entertaining show even if audiences are working with a strict schedule.

“King Chemo” takes place on Feb. 20th and 21st at 7:00 p.m. in the Straz Tower Theatre. Admission is free to all. Students can learn more about MUPS by visiting the Marquette University Players Society Facebook page or by sending an email to [email protected].

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