Latest student production ‘Once in a Lifetime’ begins next week

Latest student production ‘Once in a Lifetime’ begins next week

April 12
22:29 2015

Sarah Cagle / Contributing writer

When we go see a show, lights and colors dazzle us. The performers, dressed up in beautiful costumes and makeup, blow us away with their talent. We are taken on a journey with the characters and are part of their story for just a few hours.

Right now, the UNT theatre department is preparing for its upcoming show “Once in a Lifetime.” The comedy, set in 1927, opens April 23 and runs through May 3. The satire about “talkies,” or films with sound, and its effects on the Hollywood film industry is one of the biggest shows the department will put on this year, director Susan Sargeant said.

“The most stressful thing about putting ‘Once in a Lifetime’ together is the size of it. It is an old-fashioned play with three acts,” she said. “As you can imagine, it takes a lot of communication and coordination.”

To prepare for the show and make sure everything runs smoothly, the people in charge of costumes, sets, lights and sound get together and discuss the director’s vision for the show, stage manager Beth Akin said. Weekly production meetings are held to check in on how it all is going, and deadlines are made.

“As [the show] starts slowly coming up, it starts slowly getting put onto the stage and it just comes together one day,” Akin said. “You’re like, ‘Oh, nothing’s ready,’ and then all of a sudden the next day it’s like, ‘We have a show!’”

Co-costume designer Sara Livingston said she and costume shop head Barbara Cox, needed to design around 40 to 50 costumes for the show.

Cox said working with Livingston as co-costume designers and mentoring her during this show has been an interesting process because of how much of a say they each have in the designs.

“Most of the time I throw [the student designers] into it and let them do it, but this [show] was too big. I just didn’t feel like I should make her do it all,” Cox said. “Part of what happens in this space is getting to watch people develop and grow and decide whether they like it or not.”

Livingston said she is most excited about a wedding dress they have been designing for one of the scenes.

“It’s going to have like a 6-foot-long veil,” Livingston said. “It’s going to be amazing.”

Akin is most excited about the cast and crew’s hard work coming together and producing the end result, specifically for the set changes in between scenes.

“I know how the set change is supposed to look, and so whenever I see it go so smoothly, and the audience is just shocked, I think that’s one of my favorite things to see,”Akin said. “All of this work goes into rehearsing it and planning it, and then it all pays off because it looks so beautiful.”

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