By Emily Mokler – Contributing Writer
A dead man rises from the stage and shuffles quietly to the silver curtain behind him as the audience chuckles during a ten-minute play put on by volunteers at the Thread Theater last Wednesday evening.
The event is held monthly in a renovated hall within a former French-Catholic church in Lewiston, ME. The Thread Theater aims to engage with anyone interested in writing, performing or watching the performances.
Several UMF students and professor Bill Mesce attended the event, their scripts ready to be performed by volunteers from the audience. The students and Mesce also acted for other plays, gaining a clearer understanding about what it’s like to perform an original work live, as well as what a live audience responds to.
Carrie Close, a junior Creative Writing major, said, “I learn something every time I go: what works, what doesn’t, how to write better dialogue.”
The theme of the event was “In the Heat of the Moment.” Some playwrights made sure to have a character drop that title, while others focused on what that theme meant to them. Close’s play “Not One” had two couples go camping while trying to hide their past indiscretions.
Close said, “I learn about my characters by the way people portray them, that lets me know whether I did a good job of writing my characters or not.”
Mesce’s play “Billy and John” was about two men who bicker with each other while giving directions to a lost couple. The audience voted the play the best of the night. “I got lucky with the actors I got,” Mesce said. “They worked so well together.”
The audience became a character in the way it reacted, sometimes roaring with laughter, other times a chuckle, emboldening the actors in the process. Members shouted excitedly for their friends when they were called to perform, and recited the funniest line while high-fiving them on their return to their seat.
Cameron Gelder’s play about his interpretation of the afterlife ran over ten minutes, which has never happened to him in his two-and-a-half years of attending the Thread Theater. “I told the actors to speak clearly, but they took that as speaking slowly,” Gelder lamented.
Opposite of the entrance is the stage, brightly lit with a simple table and five chairs. The arrangement of these props changed with each play and cast of characters, from use as an impromptu car to a bed holding quarreling lovers.
The admission fee was $5 and the bar was stocked with beer and mixed drinks that the audience made use of throughout the evening.
The next event, with the theme “Stuffed,” will be held November 15th. For more information, search “Thread Theater” on Facebook.
Emily Mokler – Contributing Writer
UMF’s Ultimate Disc Club focused on recruitment this Fall by showing off the fun and competitive sides of the game.
Tim Pacini, a UMF senior and co-President of the club, credits the increase in new members to playing on the Mantor Green.
“One of our biggest and best recruitment tools is simply tossing a disc on the green,” Pacini said. “People come and hang out, think it’s fun, come to a practice and they’re hooked.”
Justin Davis, a recent sophomore transfer, joined the club a few weeks ago. “When I first joined, I wanted to find something that would keep me active and moving,” Davis said. “I got into Ultimate because I saw people playing on the green, and they invited me to play with them.”
Davis was at the club fair on September 13th and “a lot of people were saying things like ‘I don’t know I’m not really that good.’ To them I usually say, neither am I,” he admitted. “We encourage anyone to join no matter the skill.”
Ultimate Disc Club Member’s at the Fall 2017 Club Fair from L to R : Cory McCullough, Justin Reid Davis and Tim Bullard. (Photo by Mitchell Walston)
Ultimate is like a combination of soccer’s running and football’s passing and field. Tim Bullard, a Senior Community Health major and captain of the team, said, “the running is physically demanding. In a tournament, playing up to ten games in two days is hard on your body.”
Bullard praised the new members of the club. “The freshmen this year are excited about playing,” he said. “They’re really enthusiastic about the game.”
Recent freshman recruit Sylvie Fenderson said, “I played ultimate in high school and knew I wanted to continue in college, whether with the team or just playing pickup.”
The team practices 5 days a week, but members don’t have to attend every practice. It’s a reflection of the flexibility the club has to offer. Bullard attends practice three times per week, and there are causal members who practice once per week. “It’s a much different atmosphere than varsity sports, which I’ve done in the past,” Bullard said. “It’s still competitive, but we have fun too.”
Exercise, competition and schedule flexibility are not the only contributing factors for player retainment. Bullard said, “Over the past four years, I’ve made friends through Ultimate, some are my best friends.”
Blair Bailey, a senior and the treasurer of the club, shared this sentiment. “The people who recruited me last year made it sound so fun so I thought I would give it a try,” Bailey said. “Those people have now become my current teammates, but even better they have become some of my closest friends.”
The Ultimate Disc Club has been a club sport at UMF since 1997. They fundraise by hosting tournaments at UMF, where Ultimate teams from other colleges register to play. The team went to Orono for their first tournament of the semester.
Pacini encourages interested students to “come on out to a practice and try it out. Look up the club’s Facebook page and join it to see practice times or if there’s a pick-up game going on.”
Their page can be found by searching Facebook for “UMF Ultimate Disc Club.”