This is opening night for a unique theatrical production at Chadron State College.
It’s the world premiere of What’s Next, written by David Craven, 2019 CSC Artist-in-Residence, and staged in the student center and 2 dorm lobbies.
Seat reservations are required, but free, and curtain times are 7:30 tonight through Saturday and Sunday afternoon at 2:00. Face coverings and social distancing are also required.
What’s Next tells a simple story – can a college freshman get up the courage to ask out a girl he likes – but does it in a complicated way that includes time travel and a “choose your journey” type of multiple ending options.
Director Jenn Poarch, the current Artist-in-Residence, says each performance splits the audience into 4 groups of 14 who will see the 20-minute first scene in one of 4 rooms in the Student Center.
Each group will then walk to the other 3 Student Center site for 3 more scenes in the dorm lobbies and the Student Center that each group will see in a different order – leading to the possibility of different endings.
Poarch says the basic story is intended to be open-ended in all aspects and can take place anywhere really and anytime between 2005 and present-day, but that she’s tailored it to this area and its environment.
Theater Professor Scott Cavin says the multi-location approach has the approval of Panhandle Public Health District Director Kim Engel, who called it an “innovative” way to have a safe production.
Cavin says the approach is similar to guerilla theater with actors and audience adapting to change together as they move. He also thinks it’s great training for the young actors since they have to be quick on their feet for new dialogue and changes.