Last weekend, dozens of students and faculty gathered in the basement of George Washington Hall for the first DramaLabs of the 2022-2023 school year. A lively start to the term, the performances caught audiences off guard with engaging premises and a freeze dance tournament skit that incorporated audience members into the fun.
“I wasn’t [expecting] the freeze dance…That was really nice and it was a whole bonding experience for everyone. It was really uniting [for] the community,” said audience member EV Heck ’25.
Overall, DramaLabs consisted of three short plays: “Draw a Lion” directed by Alicia Zhang ’24, “1-800-DAMNATION” directed and written by Sebastian Lemberger ’25, and “Make John Patrick Shanley Go Home” directed by Jack Swales ’24. As a cast member of Lemberger’s skit about eternal punishments and trolling help services, Serafina Shin-von Nordenflycht discussed how she enjoyed returning to performing this fall.
“It was awesome. I was a Freshman last year and when I first did DramaLabs it was also with Prince [LaPaz ’24] and so that’s always a great person to work with. Plus the play we did, 1-800-DAMNATION, was very funny, and in general, I really like theater, so it was nice being back in this classroom and nice being back in DramaLabs,” said Shin-von Nordenflycht.
Being student-run, the DramaLabs have served as a way for people with any level of theater experience to get involved in acting, giving the performances a more casual atmosphere. Shin-von Nordenflycht mentioned that despite feeling nervous, the welcoming nature of DramaLabs’ community created a comfortable space for performing for and alongside her peers.
“[There’s] always a little bit of…nerves, but it’s honestly one of the best communities out there. Whenever I go on stage I always feel so welcome by the audience. You always feel like you’re being seen and everyone is having a good time. It’s also one of the places where the participation happens. Especially with the producer’s skits, it’s really fun,” said Shin-von Nordenflycht.
As a DramaLabs producer, Jessica Li ’24 had the opportunity to try out different roles in production during this performance, such as operating a light board and exercising creative freedom with the rainbow house lights. Li said that while her first few DramaLabs were stressful, they have settled into a more comfortable routine with this production.
“It was pretty fun. Definitely a little bit hectic, but my favorite thing about DramaLabs are the energy that they bring, so it was really nice to have that burst of energy at the beginning of Upper year and get to interact with new actors,” said Li.
Heck, an audience member and past performer, commented that the skits reminded her of how much she appreciated the environment and the producers’ work in putting together DramaLabs.
“I’ve also been in a DramaLab. I will say that [this was] much more impressive. I know when I was in one I was struggling to memorize stuff and it’s very impromptu. You don’t have a lot of time to rehearse… and to see it executed so well is so great to see,” said Heck.