The student-organized and student-led Pulp Theatre is producing the John Patrick Shanley play “Savage in Limbo” at the Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts Sallenger Sisters Black Box Theatre. The four-week Interim will conclude with public performances of the play Jan. 24-26.
As has been the case in past years with Pulp Theatre productions during Interim, there is very little faculty input in the process. The freedom to produce and direct on their own, plus the top-of-the-line theater space and facilities in the Center for the Arts, makes the month a highlight of the school year for many theatre students.
“The biggest benefit of this is that people who are theater majors – and even those who aren’t – get to focus on what they want to do, on just this one thing, for the month, and that’s incredible,” says stage manager Kathryn Whilden, a senior theatre and Spanish major from Myrtle Beach, S.C. “It’s one of the most fulfilling things we get to do here because all you focus on is your job in the theater. That has helped me and a lot of other people grow.”
Khalil Gamble, the play director and a junior theatre and humanities major from Spartanburg, echoed that sentiment.
“For a month, there are no other classes to deal with and not a lot of other things on our minds,” he says. “This gives everybody a chance to focus on just acting – or designing or technical theater stuff – for a month. It’s a chance for students to test the knowledge that they’ve been given at Wofford without the professors holding our hands. It’s a real test.
“Some of the students working on this play probably will never have this amount of freedom and the ability to perform in a great space like this again. It’s a great experience.”
Theatre professor Daniel Day said the Interim “gives students the opportunity to take everything they’ve learned in their design, technical theater, acting, directing and theater literature/theory classes and apply it with almost complete artistic freedom in the laboratory of live performance.”
Calling Pulp “one of the best things about Wofford Theater,” Day said the pressure of putting on a full-length play in less than three weeks “teaches them to come together as a tight-knit and collaborative ensemble and to leave their egos and neuroses at the theater door. In order for the production to work, people have to trust, respect and support each other.”
The play, described by Gamble as “funny, wild, exciting and fast-paced,” is set in a bar in the Bronx in the 1970s. Five people who live in the area meet at the bar and, in a series of conversations, try to change each other’s lives. “And that causes things to happen,” Gamble said.
From start to finishing performance, the Pulp Theatre experience is a major benefit for all concerned, Gamble says.
“There won’t be any box office numbers coming in and no critics’ reviews,” he says. “We get a professional experience without any professional stakes.”