SCF Theatre Program Presents "Nothing Serious," September 23 through October 2 in the Howard Studio Theatre

SCF Theatre Program Presents "Nothing Serious," September 23 through October 2 in the Howard Studio Theatre

The SCF Theatre Program presents its first play of the year, "Nothing Serious" written by Rich Orloff,  September 23 through October 2 in the Howard Studio Theatre on the SCF Bradenton campus. 
The play's director, faculty member Amanda Schlachter, and assistant director, SCF Theatre major Tori Flounders, join the club this week to talk about their experiences, the importance of the SCF Theatre Program in the lives of students and community members,  the concept of this show (ten 10-minute comedies rolled into one!), and so much more! 
Come along and join the club!
Rich Orloff's Nothing Serious
Directed by Amanda Schlachter
Assistant director Victoria Flounders
Elements designed by Craig Smith, Timothy Bourn, Kenji Trujillo, and Ethan Fuhrmeister. 

Cast and crew includes:  William Ashburn, Christopher Byler, Erika Campbell, Sarah, Chowdhury, Samuel Echevarria, Jean Felicita, Thomas Finn, Victoria Flounders, Ethan Fuhrmeister, Starr Mandell, Martin Nichols, Sofia Radbach, and Elizabeth Sorba

• SCF Theatre Program Website & Facebook Page & Instagram & Tickets

• The Players Centre for the Performing Arts Website & Facebook & Instagram & YouTube

• Urbanite Theatre Website & Facebook & Instagram & YouTube

• Asolo Repertory Theatre Website & Facebook & Instagram & YouTube

Support the show

Transcript

Robyn Bell: Who do I have here with us today on the other end of the microphone, it is assistant professor of theater here at the state college of Florida and director of the program's latest play called Nothing Serious by playwright, Rich Orloff, the Amanda Schlachter. And we have an assistant director, SCF theater, student, Victoria Flounders from here on out known as Tori. So Amanda and Tori, welcome to the club. 

Amanda Schlachter: Well, thank you. 

Robyn Bell: I wanna talk to the two of you extensively about your upcoming play, Nothing Serious, but first tell us about yourselves. Amanda. You've done a lot of interviews on this, but we really don't know your story. So let's start with you. Do you remember your very first play?

Amanda Schlachter: Wow. So the one that pops into my mind was I actually grew up mainly here in Sarasota and I went to the Out-of-Door Academy. So one of my first plays, I got to play Santa Claus. In a Clause for Mrs. Claus, because she wanted to go out and work. 

Robyn Bell: And did that hook you? 

Amanda Schlachter: So that kind of hooked me. I had kind of always wanted to be an actor, but then it was actually Terry Easton, Mr. Easton, who was the social studies teacher at the time at Out-of-Door Academy, every spring would write his own skits and, original music. And he. Would always say, well, I'm gonna do something special. Cause I know you want to be an actor. And it was the sweetest thing. And to this day, I think about Terry Easton and how he started me off. And then in high school, I was with KT Curran and Source Productions. So between those two people, they really kind of launched me. KT sent me off to New York to study acting at 18. And 

Robyn Bell: where did you study there? 

Amanda Schlachter: At the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Yeah. So I was in their conservatory. I graduated and then was part of their company. It was. truly a transformative experience at 

Robyn Bell: I can imagine. How long did you stay in New York? 

Amanda Schlachter: So I was there a little over three years. Yeah. So it was part of the company. I did a show out of that and then I ended up coming back here. Interesting enough. I came to Manatee Community College at the time. I took two classes here. I took English and psychology. I was scared to go back to college cuz I had been. Ding and everything had been performance based. And I really got my confidence here that I actually could succeed in college. And then I transferred to UCF and finished my four year degree.

Robyn Bell: Wow. So you have from UCF, University of Central Florida, what degree do you have?

Amanda Schlachter: So I have a bachelor of fine arts in acting specifically. Okay. So then I went and did. I did all performance for all my degrees. Yeah. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. So then your next stop was University of Florida. 

Amanda Schlachter: Yeah. So between my BFA at UCF, then I launched out into the professional world. So I did a children's tour. I worked with the Orlando Shakespeare theater. I came back here multiple times. I always say, this is kind of cuz Sarasota is my hometown. I think I've left here four times as an adult and to do work, to move. Places, and then I've come back and then hopefully I'm here to stay. Cuz now I, I feel pretty settled, but um, but then I started actually with the Players, Theater. I started teaching, so they started me with kids. Then teens, then adults. Then they asked me to direct. So I started directing, so I was about 25 at that time. 

Robyn Bell: And that was your first directing experience? 

Amanda Schlachter: Yes. . So that was with the, the Players' Theater. Um, then I actually one of, sort of. Projects. I worked with, uh, kaleidoscope with Asolo Rep, uh, which was a partnership with Community Haven, for adults and children with disabilities. So we actually did an entire five week intensive summer program where we worked with professional artists and adults with developmental disabilities, and we created an entire original show. It was magnificent. Um, actually Anne Morrison was one of the founders of that. And so this was after she had been and she actually returned eventually and was working with them. So just a myriad of different things, Sarasota Actors Workshop. Um, yeah. And then eventually so fast forward, after doing many projects and things I did wanna teach at the college level, I got really clear about that. So at about 35, I went back to the University of Florida. I went to this thing called URTA's. So you go and you audition for all these schools all over the country. So I actually went to San Francisco for URTA call kind of made a vacation of it and then auditioned 

Robyn Bell: does Urda stand for something. 

Amanda Schlachter: It's the, United regional theater association, , but in essence, anybody in the theater world knows it's, actually where you. For graduate school. So what they do is they have them in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, where the three major cities you go and you audition for like 60 schools. And then what they do is they call you back from there. So like I was going in people's hotel rooms to like, do monologues, get coaching and adjustments. And then from there you hopefully get offers. And then if you get an offer for your master's degree, they'll graciously pay for your schooling and then you work. I got a fellowship with the University of Florida, so I was able to teach while I was there, which was fantastic. I mean, University of Florida was a wonderful experience and it gave me both the hands on experience of teaching. While also, still performing 

Robyn Bell: Did you have multiple offers or cuz University of Florida kind of being in your home state mm-hmm was that, did they know that said, well, she's just in Sarasota. She can come here. Or how does that work? 

Amanda Schlachter: So I, I was fortunate. I ended up getting three offers, which was really, yeah. So Wayne State was one of them in Michigan. And I did go tour in Detroit and it was a magnificent school. It's primarily a conservatory though. Not as much of the teaching experience and that was something I really hungered to have. I also actually wanted a little bit more intellectual work because a lot of what I had done up until that point was very hands on. you know, in the studio workshops, acting, voice, diction, things like that. And I wanted to move into like the intellectual piece of it. So, and then I also auditioned for UCF, which I had gone to for undergrad, which was terrific and got a wonderful connection through, UCF with the Orlando Shakespeare theater, which also really molded. Just my whole philosophy about teaching. I went back and did a year long internship with them after I had graduated my four year degree, because I wanted to learn about classical theater and I wanted to learn more about teaching. So I did a nine month internship with them with that was like, fantastic. But at the time I was in Orlando. So I thought I have a support system here and a community here. Let me also audition here. And then ultimately I didn't, wasn't really aware of UF and all that they had to offer till I went to URTAS. So when I did the visit there, it felt like the nice balance of, I was still close to people like my family and my friends, but I was also going to a new place with new professors. New influences and, you know, it's fantastic. I

Robyn Bell: And it's important in our education to get that breath. You don't stay in the performing arts with one teacher forever. You've gotta get other opinions and philosophies on how to do things. 

Amanda Schlachter: Yeah. 

Robyn Bell: And then you end up, I knew you were adjunct. You were sort of guests directing plays here and there mm-hmm and then what year was it when you became like full time?

Amanda Schlachter: So I'm going into my fourth year right now at my full-time level. So was that 2019? I believe. Cause it was the spring of 2020 that I know the pandemic happened. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. So you'd only been here for one semester before the pandemic happened?

Amanda Schlachter: Yes. 

Robyn Bell: Oh, I didn't realize that. 

Amanda Schlachter: I think so. Yeah, that was my first. That was my first full year. Okay. And then we went, you know, so this is going into my fourth year. Yeah. 

Robyn Bell: Excellent. Good summary. 

Amanda Schlachter: Thanks. 

Robyn Bell: Okay, Tori, you have the most surprising path. 

Tori Flounders: I sure do. 

Robyn Bell: To me, to your role here as Amanda assistant director. So tell us how you came to theater, kind of in general and SCF more specifically, 

Tori Flounders: I'd always dreamed about being an actor growing up. When I was a child, I took any acting class that was available to me. High school, college level. I had actually been enrolled in college before, right out of high school.

Robyn Bell: let's just say, you're what we call our non-traditional student. 

Tori Flounders: Correct. 

Robyn Bell: We don't wanna give your age, but yes, you have already had kind of this full life and you're back in the classroom. Right? 

Tori Flounders: Right. 

Robyn Bell: So tell us a little bit about that kind of this interim. What happened between high school and. State college of Florida.

Tori Flounders: So I had changed my major several times when I was in college before. , I couldn't find the path that I really wanted to take. I'd always had acting in my back pocket of the thing I dreamed about. And then for about eight years, I worked in spas as a skincare esthetician and a massage therapist. I have three small children. so I was, 

Robyn Bell: that's not something you hear from our college students every day. 

Tori Flounders: Yes. 

Robyn Bell: How old are your children? 

Tori Flounders: My kids are three, five and seven . So I always knew that I wanted to return to college and get my degree. But, 

Robyn Bell: but there's this household full of children to deal with. Yeah. 

Tori Flounders: So as soon as they were old enough to all. Enrolled in their own schools. I found the time to re-enroll in school. I'm from New Jersey and we moved down to Florida about four years ago, we live in Sarasota and I was looking just for a local school that would set me on the path to just explore the different courses available here.

Robyn Bell: You probably really had no idea what all SCF theater had to offer. 

Tori Flounders: I had no idea, 

Robyn Bell: right. 

Tori Flounders: I knew. When, so over quarantine, over the COVID lockdowns, I did a lot of home remodeling, which peaked my interest in interior design. So when I originally returned, that was my number one goal to learn about design so the first course I enrolled in here was production involvement, where we build the sets for all of the plays. And during my first few weeks there. While they were producing lovesick they were in need of a stage manager. And I thought I would love to be more involved. I'll be the stage manager. And that is what started it. All

Robyn Bell: right. And then you were like watching them on stage. You're like I could do that. 

Tori Flounders: I wanna be up there. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. Yeah. 

Tori Flounders: That could be me. 

Robyn Bell: So you are a full-fledge. Theater major taking all of the courses that we have to offer in that curriculum. And can we, maybe just before we talk about the play, discuss the theater program offerings and sort of the sequence of events. If people wanna come to the State College Florida to get an AA and study theater, where do they start and end? 

Amanda Schlachter: Well, in terms of there's a, a wide range of ways to get involved. So in terms of our performance classes, we offer acting one and two, uh, stage movement for the actor, dance classes, voice addiction, script analysis, and that's. Primarily your performance classes. We have theater appreciation, which also is one of our general education requirements. So we get a lot of students that are not theater majors that like to take that they get to see live plays. They also have to, it helps with their Gordon rule requirements. So they write papers, things like that.

Robyn Bell: Yeah. Gordon rule is a policy in the state of Florida, where you have to take classes where you write papers, 

Amanda Schlachter: 6,000 words, 

Robyn Bell: and you have to grade those. 

Amanda Schlachter: I do, and I teach three sections of it. Yeah. A semester, but it's actually, I really love it. And it's really interesting. And you get to meet. Again, students that are doing all sorts of things, working full time, nursing students, it's a wonderful way to get to know the, the bigger SCF community. 

Robyn Bell: And you require those students to attend the performances. I bet

Amanda Schlachter: we do. So they get to see three live performances and we welcome them on ours. They're not required to only see ours, but it's nice. They can get a student rate ticket, that sort of thing. But then we also tell them about all the local theaters. And so we promote our local theaters, our community theaters, and then there's also production involve. So that's a class that Tori was talking about and that's with Craig Smith, who's our program manager for the theater. And that's a fabulous class along with Timothy borne. Who's our technical director. So they really work on everything from lighting design to building sets, painting, and what we always say about our theater department. And that's really like one of the many things I love is if you have an interest to learn. We'll teach you. And not only will we, we teach you, you're gonna get hands on experience, doing whatever it is you have interest in. So like right now, Craig is working along with Ethan Fuhrmeister to do our lighting design. And Ethan's done a lot with us already, cuz he also works in the community. So there's a wide range. And then of course, on top of that, we have lifelong learning. So a lot of those performance classes are also offered to the community at a discounted rate. So I have quite a few lifelong learners right now, which is fantastic. 

Robyn Bell: And these people might range in age from 30 to 70.

Amanda Schlachter: Correct. And I've had all of the above, which is, which is so lovely about even the group we have in the cast. We have that kind of. We have students that are 18 and we have some that are just say a little older than that. 

Robyn Bell: and then just a little older than that. 

Amanda Schlachter: Just a little, I don't wanna give anybody's, you know, 

Robyn Bell: what's interesting to me with our theater program is when people do graduate with their AA and they've had all this theater curriculum. I've seen that they transfer and do some amazing things and they sort of take that theater background and they, can they go just like with the music, students, they can go a myriad of places. So what all, majors do we end up sending out into the world? 

Amanda Schlachter: Well, I mean, it's everything, as I was saying earlier to some friends, I keep seeing alumni this week, you know, but we have alumni that are going into communications, English majors. We actually get a lot of people going into political science. We have one of our graduates who's right now working on Capitol hill. Uh, Luke, Sandlin doing really important work and actually just called this week to say how much he misses. Theater, which of course we always love to hear . Um, but there's just the, the, I think in general, and I think this is true of all of the arts is that those skills are so transferable and that's why people love to work with people that have worked in the arts, because there's an expectation you show up on time and you can learn. I mean, we're very adaptable. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. Transferable skills and also. It really fosters creativity, those of us in the arts mm-hmm , um, that most business people are looking for. You know, if you own a business, you want people to show up on time, but you want them to think creatively and out of the box. This is what we teach every single day.

Amanda Schlachter: Yes. 

Robyn Bell: All right. So Tori, how many of the classes do you have left? Are you going to graduate soon? 

Tori Flounders: I'm graduating at the end of the semester. 

Robyn Bell: Aw. we're gonna miss you Tori. 

Tori Flounders: I'm sure I'll be back . 

Amanda Schlachter: We're trying to keep her around. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. So then what, when you graduate, what's gonna be next for you. 

Tori Flounders: So my plan is to dive further into my acting career. I plan on seeking out an agent, seeking out more audition. 

Robyn Bell: You wanna be an actor?

Tori Flounders: I do. I really do. 

Robyn Bell: And, we would be remiss if we didn't mention that we all saw you at the Urbanite Theatre. , over the summer for Athena, you, you were in that, I know it was a, a role there at the very end and I thought that young lady. Is coming every night and at the very end of the play she gets to come on stage. 

Tori Flounders: Yeah.

Robyn Bell: That's that was remarkable. 

Tori Flounders: I had jobs during the show. I had to help with a quick change. It was very exciting. 

Robyn Bell: but that's what, like what you're saying, Amanda, you don't just act. Here in our world, you are involved really in so many aspects of the production. So let's talk about the production. 

Amanda Schlachter: Okay. 

Robyn Bell: All right. So the upcoming play that will be running Friday, September 23rd through Sunday, October 2nd. It is Rich Orloff play called Nothing Serious. Now do I understand this, right? It is a kind of more of a collection of 10, 10 minute comedies. Is that the right concept?

Amanda Schlachter: Yeah, so Nothing Serious is a collection of his ultimately 10 minute plays, but he has multiple collections. So something that's really cool about Rich Orloff is one. You can write him. He was very accessible. He answered my emails. We've been, , back and forth chatting. And then he sent me a whole other like 10 other plays from another collection called Small Wonder. And he basically said pick and choose what you like. These are a little bit newer. I'd love to see if you could do some of those. So ultimately, and I said, well, what do you want me to call it? Since I've pulled from both of the collections. And he said, go ahead and call it Nothing Serious. But in essence, they're short plays or vignettes that I have a beginning, middle and an end. They stand alone and there are some, some connections to them. , but ultimately the themes that I went with that I, I felt drawn to were things of creation, love, relationships, faith, death, rebirth, these were things he talks about. Very heavy topics in a way that is light and rather magical. So all of a sudden you don't realize, oh, this is a pretty heavy topic. And yet you're laughing and thinking all at the same time. So he's a very, very talented, clever writer. We've actually done quite a few of his other plays. And we did a different rendition of this about 12 years ago here.

Robyn Bell: And Tori, not only are you assistant directing, but you are acting in this play. 

Tori Flounders: Yeah.

Robyn Bell: Tell us about. Your role as an actor and then your role as this assistant director and how you're managing the two. 

Tori Flounders: So I'm in four of the different short plays. My characters are very different from each other, which is incredibly exciting to explore 

Robyn Bell: yeah. As an actor.

Tori Flounders: Right? 

Robyn Bell: Yep. 

Tori Flounders: Balancing that with assistant directing has been interesting. I luckily have a pretty good memory. So I got my lines down real quick and we've been. just taking turns, working all of the different scenes. This week's been really nice because I've had a lot of time to work one on one with some of the other actors and help them break up their scenes really think deeper about them. 

Robyn Bell: and, and Amanda, since I've known you here, I haven't known you to have an assistant director. Is this the first time? 

Amanda Schlachter: I think it is, I may have had one the first year. Um, I had a student Remy who I think also did some dramaturging at the same time, took on that. And then Jalex Scott actually assistant directed last year for Lovesick, but he was actually already one of our alumni. So he, has come back and worked, with us. And so he stepped in with Lovesick and it was very similar. It's interesting in the process with, with working vignettes like this, because although in a lot of ways they're shorter. You're working with multiple people. And so the first part is really just about getting the staging down. So that was a lot of like the first couple weeks. And then I'm able to work things. Tori's able to work things simultaneously at the same time, and then we're able to like bounce ideas. Well, what do you think about this? And then. Tori has been really great about, well, why don't we try this and come up with some phenomenal ideas that I'm like, let's do it. You know, mm-hmm . And top of that, Tori also took on one of the vignettes Matterhorn. So that's really her baby. I said, you go ahead and head this up. And I'll just support. And I said, you know, I will give some notes towards the end if there's anything. So I just kind of support her ideas, but she's done a brilliant job with it, as well as doing our projections. She's given me sound ideas. So I think it's really been a collaborative experience, which I'm all for. I think, 10 minds, 12 minds are much better than one, 

Robyn Bell: right? And Tori, you've experienced Amanda kind of as a director mentor to you in this process, 

Tori Flounders: I absolutely. See her as a mentor to me. 

Robyn Bell: What, what have you learned most in this process of being this assistant director in this particular play 

Tori Flounders: I appreciate so much how Amanda's directing style that I would love to be able to emulate. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. 

Tori Flounders: So I just observe her constantly and try to find those own words within myself. She just knows how to empower her. In such a magical way to witness that's really what I try to take from her. And I feel like I've gained a lot just having this one on one, being able to collaborate with her in this situation.

Robyn Bell: And if someone in the future said, Hey Tori, can you direct, you have this solid footing. Now you would feel confident in taking on that. 

Tori Flounders: definitely more confident than I was before starting this.

Robyn Bell: Yeah. 

Tori Flounders: The first, the first day I had as lead directing my scene, the scene that I'm lead directing matter horn, I was so nervous, but it's getting a lot more comfortable now. It's very enjoyable to try to direct.

Robyn Bell: Ah, excellent. Now Tori said she's in four of the vignette. So tell us about the other actors that are performing that are either students or community members.

Amanda Schlachter: so I'll tell you just who we have. So we have William Ashburn, uh, Christopher Byler, Erica Campbell, uh, Samuel Cheva, gene, Felicia, Thomas Finn, and of course Tori, uh, star Mandel, Martin NIC. And Elizabeth soba. 

Robyn Bell: No, I wanna interrupt you for a second because Jean Felicita, I have known for years and years, she was, is a community member. But she used to work in our HR department here at the State College, Florida. And she never done anything before she retired. Right. And she came, I, what was it last semester maybe? And said, I wanna drive up for the play. 

Amanda Schlachter: Yeah. So last year in the fall, she shows up for Lovesick does the final vignette with William. They do a magnificent job. Everybody loved it. And so Jean kind of got the bug back. I think she did it. She said I haven't acted since high school, but I'm ready to do it again. And then this year, she again came to audition for Nothing Serious and also is taking acting with us. So she wants, she said, now I wanna learn more about exactly what I'm doing. Like what is the craft? So it's fantastic to have her. She brings great energy. She brings great idea. She's already, always costing like first day, she's like, this is what I'm gonna do. I love it. So we're like, all right, we'll work with that Jean.

Robyn Bell: Well, that's a great segue because in addition to the performers that have to act on the stage, we know there's lots of other people who work in the background, making the sets that we talked about, working sound and lights, putting people in costumes. So tell us about those folks and sort of the magic that they have worked behind the scenes for the show. 

Amanda Schlachter: Sure. So Craig Smith, , did our set design and of course is working with all of our scholarship students and production involvement students to build it and then Timothy born. Does a lot of different things. He's pretty fantastic that way. So he's working on building the set. He works with the lighting designer. Which is also Craig and Ethan Fuhrmeister, who I said before. So they all work together. Then Tim also works with sound. So he is doing all the programming. So we're all working together like here's sound. And then. Tim's hoping to train me on sound so he can have a second just cuz it's always good to have more people knowing what we do. Mm-hmm um, so he plays multiple roles with us in the production of making our shows come alive. And then, , Kenji Truheo is our costume designer. Who's also an alumni of SCF. So she does all of our costume design. I, you know, we just have a fantastic team 

Robyn Bell: keeping it in the family in so many different ways. 

Amanda Schlachter: Yeah. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. So as someone that's never acted or done anything, if, I mean, I've played in pit orchestras, so that doesn't count. I've conducted pit orchestras. That doesn't count. I just inherently, I think that I would think directing a play from start to finish where it's one story being told in the same character development, you know, maybe 90 minutes to me that would be easier than. Directing 10 different stories and 10 different groups of people that are working together. Am I right there? Is it difficult or challenging or how do you approach that differently? 

Tori Flounders: I think there's different challenges involved with both, but for some of our actors, I think their charact. Are the main challenges they face are differentiating their characters. Mm-hmm okay. And figuring out what their character's journey is, what their objectives are and finding the importance of the scene. On a much faster pace 

Robyn Bell: for you. You only have 10 minutes to develop this story in this character versus the whole 90 minutes. 

Amanda Schlachter: Yeah. And I think, you know, it's interesting. We usually do. We try, you know, in terms of our season, often our first show, our shows that are similar to this in that we could have multiple people because we are a, a college and a, and a theater program that's open to all each fall. We don't, we hold an open. So we might have 10 people. We might have 30 people. So we really wanna have that open availability, for actors to come and play with us to have fun with us. So the, the shorter play as Tori was saying, I think the challenge is, is how do you make a bold choice and stylistically, like this piece in particular, it's not pure farce. You know, it's not over the. to the extent of extreme, but it's pretty close to that. I keep saying it's like comedy on steroid. So you gotta pump it up a little bit, you know, that's kind of the balance we need to find. And then you're trying to make sure all , 10 vignettes or short plays are in the same world and in the same style. So how do they still come together to become a full night of theater? And yet you see all these different, again, 

Robyn Bell: kinda like an album or, or move. Of a symphony they're separate, but they all are connected. And this was a challenge of picking these from these two different piles and putting them together. So it made one full story beginning to end. 

Amanda Schlachter: Yes. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. 

Amanda Schlachter: Yes. Yeah. 

Robyn Bell: I got it. I got it. 

Amanda Schlachter: And I will say, you said you haven't been on the stage and I'll say yet just saying, yeah. Yeah. I'm just putting it out there. 

Robyn Bell: Well, I I'm, I'm gonna say Rick Kerby of the Manatee perform. Center, they're doing Gypsy and there's a female trumpet comedic role and has the dance. And he reached out and I cannot tell you how badly I wanted to do that, but I, I just, it didn't work with my schedule. You have, so you guys rehearse a lot. 

Amanda Schlachter: We do. 

Tori Flounders: Sure do. 

Amanda Schlachter: Yeah. 

Robyn Bell: And I just couldn't make, even the, some of the performance I was, I was already booked, so I was totally bummed. But if, if I hit the lottery and I don't have. Do so many things every day of my life, I would totally get into something like that. 

Amanda Schlachter: Yeah.

Robyn Bell: It would be really fun. So Amanda, let's talk for a minute about the Howard Studio Theater and the place where you do these performances. It's a very special place. How many does it seat? 

Amanda Schlachter: We see a hundred and. 30, I believe. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. And if someone enters that space for the first time, and I give a lot of tours to that building and I take people in there and it's their first time going in there and looking around. So I I'm observed what they notice, but what will be the first thing they would notice. Tori, if you walk into the Howard Studio Theater for the first time 

Tori Flounders: we have a magnificent collection of chandelier. 

Robyn Bell: yes, that's it. Everybody looks up and. Wow. Wow. Tell us about these chandeliers. 

Amanda Schlachter: Oh, well, so the chandeliers are actually storage, so that's the best part. Yeah. Is that you walk in and you see, you know, so many and we actually just got two more donated from Asolo. So we have even more magnificent chandeliers 

Robyn Bell: and they actually work. You have 'em hooked up. 

Amanda Schlachter: Oh yeah. Yeah. They're totally hooked up. So when you walk in, in the day, they, it kind of looks, it just, you know, it looks a. Store like, you're like, oh, cuz the, the fluorescence are on. And so on unfortu, like we, we, we 

Robyn Bell: like, we've gone into Franklin lighting.

Amanda Schlachter: Yeah. Yeah. That's exactly what it looks like. But then at night when you come for a show and all of the fluorescence are out and they're on, I mean, it's a beautiful atmosphere. 

Robyn Bell: It is. 

Amanda Schlachter: But actually what we do then is then we pull those down. Like we did a show a couple years ago called Significant Other. We pull those. And they go in the center of our stage because they're part of the show.

Robyn Bell: If you have a fancy dining room, in the set, it becomes part of the show. Yeah. It's really neat. It is the first thing that people know when Tori, when you first walked in there, does that, did you, 

Tori Flounders: first thing I noticed, 

Robyn Bell: of course, of course.

Amanda Schlachter: Yeah. 

Robyn Bell: That, um, Howard Studio Theater not only serves as a performance theater where you are rehearsing, performing, but it also serves as a classroom too 

Amanda Schlachter: absolutely. So we have theater appreciation in there. We'll have acting classes in there. So by day it's a classroom. And then of course it also is for our production involvement and they're actually working. That's one of the neat things like our theater appreciation students and our acting students. They literally watch. The set, 

Robyn Bell: the process, 

Amanda Schlachter: the process. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. 

Amanda Schlachter: So they see it when literally nothing's on it to all of a sudden there's platforms to flats to it's pretty fantastic. 

Robyn Bell: And how many plays Tori does the SCF Theatre program do? A year?

Tori Flounders: We do four plays a year two each semester. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. And Amanda, how do you pick those plays? 

Amanda Schlachter: So what we try to do, it's interesting because we usually have, so we also offer full scholarships and half scholarships here at SCF theater, 

Robyn Bell: ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, 

Amanda Schlachter: exactly. 

Robyn Bell: Show me the money. 

Amanda Schlachter: Yeah. And you don't even have to be a theater major, which people don't realize, like, if you just like doing theater, you like building. You're willing to come work because it is a job. You do have to be able to put in hours and, and work on the sets and be a part of the productions mm-hmm , but then your entire education can be paid for. So part of that is we start with who is our core group, like who do we know we have? And then, so that's one thing we think about then what we try to do is we try to find a wide range of different types of theater each. Specifically stylistically. So we're not gonna do all dramas. We're not gonna do all contemporaries. We don't always do things like Shakespeare or, um, 

Robyn Bell: classical type stuff. 

Amanda Schlachter: Yeah. We're mainly because we are more freshman and sophomore level training and that's more junior, senior. That's what you're learning at that level of your education. But like our next piece is Ms. Holmes. So that's actually a female Sherlock Holmes. 

Robyn Bell: Are we gonna involve Cassandra Holmes of the foundation in any way?

Amanda Schlachter: Uh, yes, 

Robyn Bell: she is Ms. Holmes. 

Amanda Schlachter: She should, well, she should come. What does it mean to be Ms. Holmes? 

Robyn Bell: Oh, I think we're on to something here.

Amanda Schlachter: Dun dun dun 

Robyn Bell: don't don't 

Okay. So then when you pick the shows, you and Craig I'm Smith collaborate on these on what's gonna be chosen. Do you ever get in a fist fight? No, I wanna do this. No, we can't do this. 

Amanda Schlachter: So we haven't done when, not yet. I'll let you know. Uh, one thing I noticed is it just feels like sometimes, like one of us is like leading with like, we're like, these are the plays and then the other. Kind of leaning. This is the place. And like Ms. Holmes, for example, was, India, Marie Paul who's one of our guest directors. 

Robyn Bell: Yes mm-hmm 

Amanda Schlachter: so she actually was the one who sent that to us and put that on our radar. And we're like, terrific. We really like this. Would you like to come back and direct it? She's our Peter Wendy in the spring and did a magnificent job, so well,

Robyn Bell: Victoria was Peter pan. 

Amanda Schlachter: Yes. 

Robyn Bell: Yes. It was great production and great performance.

Tori Flounders: Yeah. Thank you. 

Amanda Schlachter: So Craig and I spent a lot of time reading. Like that's our summer dedication. And in our busy schedules in the year, I'm trying to get the commitment of like once a week reading new plays, just because we wanna have as much as possible to choose from. So really that's, that's kind of how we approach it. And we try to have like a murder mystery, a comedy, a serious drama. Sometimes our fourth show we can do smaller shows. Um, because by that point in the spring, people are getting ready to graduate. So we might be able to do something a little more. But we really try to serve our students, give them a wide exposure. The other thing we think about, and this is Craig's obviously influence, which is very important is that they're getting different experiences of different types of sets to build. So like one thing is we always wanna try to have a full unit set, which means they're fully building like a full living room or a full kitchen with all of the props. Whereas like right now we have more of a skeletal set because we have multiple locations, which basically means. The center of the stage will be many places throughout Nothing Serious, depending on the props and the costumes. 

Robyn Bell: And that's a different kind of set building than building out the entire thing.

Amanda Schlachter: Correct? 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. I see. It's all about it's education, but it is also entertainment. You have an audience that needs to come and enjoy what they're seeing. So I'm sure you keep that in mind as well.

Amanda Schlachter: Absolutely. Well, we think about our primary. We do get good amount of community members, but it's a lot of our students. So we do think about how is this gonna appeal to our theater appreciation students that are coming? Because part of it is, we're also trying to introduce the next generation of theater goers, 

Robyn Bell: right. 

Amanda Schlachter: To theater, and many of our students, when they come to our shows, they literally say, it's the first live play I ever saw.

Robyn Bell: I believe it. 

Amanda Schlachter: Yeah. 

Robyn Bell: In this play Nothing Serious. When I get done with it. First of all, how long is it? 10. Well, 10, 10 minute plays. I can do the math. Seven hours. No, we have a hundred minutes of show, 

Amanda Schlachter: right? About that? A little, probably a little less than that. Yeah. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. Is there an intermission 

Amanda Schlachter: there's not 

Robyn Bell: straight through, 

Amanda Schlachter: straight through 

Robyn Bell: and like, as people are leaving, what's gonna be the buzz talk. I like this one. I like that. That was really cool. Give me a spoiler alert. 

Amanda Schlachter: Go ahead. 

Tori Flounders: Definitely the penguin, 

Robyn Bell: the penguin. It's the climax of the whole. 

Tori Flounders: It might be. Yeah. yeah. 

Amanda Schlachter: Yeah. And I also think they'll be really, and one, I think they'll, they'll be impressed of course, just by the acting. There's fantastic acting going, um, on, in the production. But I think in terms of the piece, I think they'll be struck by the amount of interesting topics addressed in such a creative imaginative way. And it's, it's everything from a penguin to the womb. To what happens when we die. But in such a way that is so clever and charming and not provoking.

Robyn Bell: Well, I can't wait and congratulations, Amanda and Tori. You are now Amanda. You've been officially part of the club for two years now Tori you are now officially part of the club. So Amanda, tell us how people can follow SCF Theatre on social media. If they really wanna keep up with what you're doing.

Amanda Schlachter: So, Facebook SCF Theatre, also Instagram. So we're on those two platforms in terms of social media. They can also go to the website at SCF theater here, scf.edu, and look up theater. We have postings for. So like for the next auditions, you'll be able to see their posted open to the community as well as to our students. And of course also we have all of the listings for the shows, how you can buy. Either online or an hour before the shows, 

Robyn Bell: my friends, the play Nothing Serious produced and performed by the SCF Theatre Program can be seen the weekends of September 23rd and September 30th here at the State College of Florida in Bradenton at the Howard Studio Theater, which is, as I say, on the backside of the Neel Performing Arts Center tickets are only $15 and can be purchased online at SCF.edu/Neel that's N E E L Neel, or by calling the box office at 9 4 1 7 5 2 5 2 5 2. And I think you can purchase 'em out the door as well. 

Amanda Schlachter: You can. And for our students, it's $8 tickets, too

Robyn Bell: . $8 tickets for students. I hope it sells out every show. We have our tickets, for the 30th, Friday night, September 30th. I just got 'em last night. So Amanda and Tori and the entire casting crew, I wish you the best on this run. And, uh, as always, I'm looking forward to being entertained and swept away in your SCF Theatre Wonderland. Thank you both for sharing with us today.

Amanda Schlachter: Thank you for having us. 

Tori Flounders: Thank you so much.