Stage managers form new club

Drama students create “low-commitment” group

Graphic+by+Fiona+Kogan+%2722

Graphic by Fiona Kogan ’22

Jones Stage Managers created JCP-ish, a new “low-commitment” theatre group that promotes connections between drama students, Stage manager Midge Makowski ‘21 said.

Makowski and Assistant stage manager Mila Mussatt ‘22 created the club after directing and producing Jones’s first virtual play: Alice in Wonderland. The Jones theatre department didn’t produce a fall play this year and there are no current plans for a spring musical. 

“It’s not an official drama club thing,” said Mussatt. “Drama Club-ish, that’s what we’re calling it. Our plan for the moment is that we want to do one night only table reads. If you’ve seen different casts of TV shows and movies have come together to read screenplays of their shows, that’s kind of what we’re going for.”

Makowski and Mussatt said they are drawing inspiration from a trend perpetuated by famous actors seen throughout the pandemic. Casts from famous movies and shows have been reuniting and reading their old scripts in a sort of low-effort, less stressful situation. Mussat and Makowski said they wanted to replicate a similar environment.

“We want to do some TV episodes–so that’s shorter,” said Makowksi. “We want to do a couple plays, a couple of movies, and really it’ll depend on what people are having the most fun with.” Makowski stressed the unofficial club’s intention of being a place where people can enjoy themselves. She said one of her biggest goals is making sure students are comfortable within the environment they are cultivating.

“Our goal is to make Jones drama less exclusive, because that’s a problem that we’ve noticed in our community,” Mussat said. “It’s very much like, if you aren’t involved in the show then you can’t really be a part of the crew and the club. Which we don’t think is fair because, first of all, it’s a very competitive thing, and it’s sometimes very exclusive. We don’t want to exclude people, especially if they’re interested in theatre. We don’t want to gatekeep.”

Though she’s been cast in every production the Jones drama club has put on since she entered the school as a freshman, Ava Tallarida ‘23 also said the theatre department is very difficult for students to participate in.

“The drama department is very competitive and there’s a really small chance of getting in,” said Tallarida. “I got really lucky freshman year when I got into the play.”

Both Makowski and Mussatt said they are  hopeful for the opportunities this new endeavor will provide for current and new students who are interested in the theater. 

“By doing something like this, we’re able to give people a chance to be in the spotlight, maybe if they were too scared to come to the auditions, they want to do something more low-key, or they’re just trying to figure out if they actually want to do drama stuff. This is the perfect thing for them to do,” said Mussatt.

In addition to offering students a lower level of commitment, both stage managers said they hope to provide a sense of connection for newer Jones students.

“I know that it’s a really hard time for newcomers to Jones right now to feel connected to other students,” Makowski said. “I feel like this is a good way to make students feel involved in their community and get to know other students. It’s just fun.” 

Makowski and Mussatt said they expect to get their project off the ground and running soon.

“We’re gonna wait until after winter break, because we want to wait until we put Alice, the play we were working on during the fall, out [on Youtube],” said Makowski.