DAT Blog


Final Bows - Lo

Posted January 20, 2022

​Post by Lo Stone, DMACC Ankeny Theatre Alum

7-minute read.

At a much older age than is normally necessary, I embarked on my journey to DMACC in the Fall of 2019. I originally enrolled in the Mortuary Science program and quickly realized in my first semester that this type of science was not in my wheelhouse. My artistic mind was better spent learning literature, creative writing and, based on my previous love affair with all things dramatic, theatre classes.​

Within my first days at DMACC, my mind was spinning. I was hoping that more people my age would have the brilliant idea of going back to school in their mid 40's, but there aren't many, maybe one in each class, oh wait...s***, that's just me.

Probably other 40-somethings have already figured out their lives. Those lucky b*****ds...

Feeling like a jelly-filled basket case on the inside, I put on my “never let them see you sweat" face and walked into the Intro to Theatre class taught by Carl Lindberg.

Granted, it was in a classroom and not a theatre, but the subject was one I couldn't learn fast enough. The history of theatre. It was fascinating!

This is where I belong.

I found myself looking forward to this class above all the others. This was the one that woke my senses and reminded me that I have much more to offer the world.

The following semester, I took Acting I, again with Carl and some of the same students from the Intro class. This time, it was in the Black Box, and we got to read script and get on our feet and move. Now, not only was I awake, but I was energized.

This is where I belong.

That same semester, I auditioned for Circle Mirror Transformation and got the part of Marty.

Holy hell!

I got it! It had been nearly 25 years since I had been part of a cast. My mind was racing with questions. Am I too old for this? Are people going to think I'm bat-s*** crazy? Do I remember how to act? Did I forget to turn off the coffee pot? Have I made a mistake?

My fears were quickly squelched. While rehearsing this show, I remembered that theater takes everyone, from Carl the producer to Jodi the director to Krister the builder and Rachel the designer. I was in their capable hands, and they were willing to teach me everything they could.

On opening night, I was feeling like an Eminem song “Knees weak, palms are sweaty, there's vomit on my sweater already, mom's spag..." Okay, there was no puking on my part, I promise, instead...I felt electrified!

This is where I belong.

When COVID happened, the world went dark.

And I don't mean that we just all went home, I mean that we went to a dark place. You all know what I mean, I don't have to explain it any further.

But DMACC bounced back, and classes resumed online. And for those of you that don't know, theater is meant to be in the flesh but somehow the department rallied and figured out a way to create it anyways.

The theatre department at DMACC is inventive and resilient. And frankly, just plain cool. I know that I can ask any question and will be met with a plethora of useful information, good humor and real-world knowledge. I trust them and for me that's huge. I am generally a cautious person but what I have learned from them is that everyone belongs to the theatre.

I didn't know what I wanted to do with myself, I had all these ideas but no real direction, and I wasn't sure where I would go after leaving DMACC, and after speaking to Carl about what I was thinking, he sent me to Kristin Larson at Grand View University, where I have happily transferred to pursue my degree in Theatre Arts.

I love DMACC so much that four out of seven of my children have been students there as well, with three of them taking at least one class with Carl Lindberg, and with all of them giving positive reviews, which is also a big deal because they are a discerning bunch, my children. I have also made lasting friendships along the way, with people that are interesting, amazing and inspiring.

I am finally doing what my soul craves...

So, as Carl would say...long story long...

Thank you DMACC theatre department, you are in my heart forever.

Final Bows - Macey

Posted November 4, 2021

Post by Macey Brackin, Theatre Program Student transferring to Iowa State

5-minute read.

Coming into DMACC, I thought I had performed for the last time. As much as I hated it, I was prepared to never be able to act again, even though it was my dream. Acting has been my passion since I was 7 years old and I was letting go of it. So I decided that if I can’t be in shows anymore, I would at least take all the theater classes I could take, which brought me to Carl Lindberg’s Intro to Theater class. Not only did I learn so much but I also learned that DMACC puts on multiple shows a year and is open to any student at DMACC. I knew that I had to audition. I didn’t get into the first show I audition and by the time the next auditions came around, for Fuddy Meers, I wasn’t even going to audition. But Carl approached me and asked me to audition, even if it is just for experience. And that is when I was casted into my first show with DMACC. To be quite frank, Fuddy Meers and DMACC Ankeny Theatre changed my life.

As soon as the first rehearsal, I had made so many new friends, friends that I call my best friends to this day. The environment was one that I had always dreamed of when doing anything theatre related. I was finally surrounded with people who loved theatre and art the way I did, who had aspirations and dreams that were similar to mine. I was learning so much about theatre in a professional sense and I was doing what I love. It also showed me the potential that I had as ​an actor and that acting is the career that I want.

So I began doing all of the shows I could do. In the fall, spring, and summer, I just wanted to be a part of it all. When you join DAT, you not only have the chance to be onstage but have the opportunities to work backstage, on tech, and set design, etc. I even had the chance to assistant direct Guys & Dolls before COVID caused the show to be cancelled. 

With Turn of the Screw being my last show, it has caused me to reflect on my time working with DAT. I do not know what I would be doing without DAT and I honestly don’t like to think about it. This program has given me so many gifts that I will never be able to say thanks enough for. I was given the most welcoming and kind friend group, wonderful teachers and professors who have guided me to where I am today, and the courage in myself to pursue the career I have always dreamed of. I am eternally grateful for this program and would highly recommend everyone to audition, to help out backstage, do tech work, try out set design, anything. Because it is all so worth it.

What is a Live Radio Play?

Posted October 5, 2021

​Post by Carl Lindberg, Theatre Program Chair

4-minute read

We have had a lot of great questions about how folks can listen to our production of The Turn of the Screw, which we are presenting as a LIVE Radio Play.

While radio plays were originally broadcast over the airwaves in the early- to mid-20th century, they could also occasionally have live audiences. Our production will only be available to see and hear in person.

Here are the two main questions we're hearing:

What IS a radio play?

A radio play is a production with full acting, manually created sound effects (also called Foley), and music, but not much else. Our production has no costumes or set and minimal lighting. The actors won't perform any traditional blocking and they have no props. The benefit is all of the emphasis is on the story. And watching actors create sound effects from coconut shells, a bucket of water, and other found items is like a small feat of wizardry!

Why perform The Turn of the Screw this way?

Henry James' novella is a ghost story that is dependent upon the reader (or, in this case, listener) to commit to the unique imaginary circumstances. The story is also often interpreted by audiences in a variety of ways. What we hope is that you will lean forward in your seat in a way that is entirely different than the way you'd watch a movie or listen to a podcast. We want to heighten your connection with the actors and the story itself.

As the Narrator says in the play, "Have we seduced you?"

Shakespeare in Contemporary Clothes

Posted October 1, 2021

Post by Carl Lindberg, Program Chair

5​-minute read.

I came across this tweet recently:

Screenshot 2021-10-01 153454.png 

Almost 5-thousand likes for a tweet about theatre by someone not name Lin-Manuel Miranda or Kristin Chenoweth (or the like) is a lot.

The tweet's author is a Pulitzer Prize finalist playwright and an actor and he has a point. A sarcastic point. There are a lot of productions of Shakespeare in contemporary clothing. We do it here at DMACC Ankeny Theatre every summer.

I began to reply to the tweet on twitter, then I realized I felt 280 characters wasn't enough to not come off defensive. After all, I see how the choice to make Shakespeare's plays contemporary in costume design but not in text can come off cliché. (Though clichés become cliché for a reason.)

But here's the simple premise of my argument for contemporary clothing: that's what they did then.

Shakespeare's audiences may not have the visual experience our audiences are used to with modern people's ability to google and fly in airplanes, but the audience still can willingly suspend their disbelief.

And actors of the Elizabethan era wore what-was-then contemporary clothing. Even if the play was set in earlier eras in different parts of the world with different styles of dress.​​ Here is a brief article from the Shakespeare's Globe website to support this.

Performances by the King's Men in the Globe also lacked realized scenery. The text, actions of actors, and the imagination of audiences served to fill in the "missing" scenery and costumes. And I would go a step further and argue that this arrangement made the audience more engaged in their role as an essential facet of the theatre experience.

Long story long... I think the precedent for contemporary clothing in productions of Shakespeare's plays (since the time when Shakespeare was producing them) validates the artistic choice.

Sorry to massively subtweet you, Michael Breslin!

An Interview (Sorta) on SSS! '21 - ROMEO & JULIET

Posted July 14, 2021

​Post by Program Chair, Carl Lindberg

7-minute read

Since we didn’t get interviewed for our production of ROMEO & JULIET this Summer, we decided to interview the play's director, Carl Lindberg ourselves. Here’s a brief discussion about what’s happening behind the scenes for Summer Short Shakespeare ‘21.

DMACC Ankeny Theatre Social Media Presence: Okay. Let’s cut to the chase. Why would you choose to do ROMEO & JULIET? Isn’t this play overdone and too well known?

Director Carl: This is definitely a famous play. Almost everybody has to read it in high school, there are movies and staged productions all of the time, it’s been adapted into many well known stories, including movies and musicals. So there’s a risk producing it as our Summer Short Shakespeare this year. But this play is done a lot for a reason: it’s pretty good! We’ve really highlighted the comedy in the play--yes, it is funny for much of it before it becomes the famous tragedy that it is! And it’s such a wonderful opportunity to see several characters go on pretty epic and interesting emotional journeys. There’s a big party scene, lots of good fights, feuding within the community, a magic potion. Lots of folks will enjoy the famous scenes and lines, especially with our contemporary staging.

DATSMP: But can a play this famous really be short, as Summer Short Shakespeare implies?

DC: Absolutely! Our production will be about 80 minutes long with no intermission.

DATSMP: Isn’t Shakespeare always like 2 or 3 hours? 

DC: Not always. I have cut the play a fair amount, though. I’ve streamlined some of the subplot, trimmed the character list to 10, and removed some of the references only relevant to life in the 16th & 17th centuries. Our version is under 60 pages long.

DATSMP: You mentioned a contemporary staging… Does this year’s production have a twist?

DC: Not as big of a twist as past Summer Short Shakespeares. But our production uses contemporary music and costumes. Our set is kind of a playground made of found or left objects with a fun surprise of a balcony, almost like an old construction site. And we have some of Shakespeare’s original practices in place… audience interaction, sunlight as a primary light source, double entendre… All in all, this is a fun and unique production of ROMEO & JULIET.

DATSMP: How can readers find info to help them see the show?

DC: Well, Social Media Presence, that is a great question. If you go to the DMACC website at DMACC (dot) E D U and search “theatre” with R E at the end you’ll find info there. We’re also on twitter, instagram, and facebook @DmaccTheatre.

DATSMP: What’s next for DMACC Ankeny Theatre?

DC: We’re in the thick of planning our 2021-2022 season and I can’t share any titles yet. But, we’re hoping to do a full season of really fun shows. Plays that will entertain audiences--from students, to faculty & staff, to community members--after a long challenging year and a half.


Posted December 7, 2020

​Post by Carl Lindberg, Theatre program Chair

7-minute read.

It was a sad day in March when we had to cancel our production of Guys and Dolls. That feels like a lifetime ago.

DAT - GnD Rehearsal Photo.jpg

But, 2020 has forced us to create theatrical opportunities for our students and community in new ways. We're proud of the way we met this year's challenges.
Just recently we brought in a dream team of creatives from farther away then we would have otherwise been able, and created a truly unique play. We put the characters on zoom, so zoom wasn't a barrier to overcome, and built a meta, 60-minute comedy that feels of this time. Romeo & Internet is a delight. 
R&I Social Media Post.jpg

Also in the Fall, we used zoom to present 2 really cool staged readings of relevant, contemporary plays in rep. Unfortunately you can't watch those anymore, but we're appreciative of everyone who made the time to be there.
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Over the Summer we presented a world premiere radio play, Willy Beau Dilly by Jayme McGhan. Each of the four scenes was released one at a time, like a podcast serial. You can still listen to it online at https://www.dmacc.edu/theatre/ankeny/Pages/radioplay.aspx or by searching Willy Beau Dilly on your favorite podcast site.
Willy Beau Dilly 03.png
Thank you to the countless ensemble members that bravely created in ways we've never created before. Thank you to all of you who continue to support the arts, even in the simplest way: being present in the audience. And a special thank you to everyone who has made this year possible despite all of the uncertainty: Student Activities Council, Dean Jim Stick, and college President Rob Denson.​

An Unsent Tweet

Posted November 3, 2020

Post by Carl Lindberg, Theatre Program Chair

3-minute read.

I was going to write a tweet that looked like this:

Can’t help but wonder if everyone at these political rallies would have benefited from seeing more theatre throughout their lives… An annual trip to The Rocky Horror Picture Show might have satisfied the need to yell things as a group.

But it’s just not the department’s place to say anything that could be perceived as disparaging. Even if the intent here would have been simply to be funny.

What I can’t help but wonder, though, is how much truth may be present within this idea. (That’s part of what makes it funny!) We do all crave community. I think coronavirus has taught us that. We all appreciate the validation of shared ideals. But does our need for such validation prevent us from being open minded, or actually listening to and seeing people from different backgrounds and beliefs? I don’t know.

What I do know is that theatre truly does provide meaningful opportunities to be present with others from your community. Seeing a production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show actually puts you in a position to (essentially) cheer for some characters and boo others. But it allows you to do so in a way that isn’t real. Theatre is cathartic, and this is just one example of how.

Politics has been adopting theatrical tendencies for years now. But that’s probably a post saved for a non-election day...

What I Hope We're Learning About The Arts

Posted April 6, 2020

​Post by Carl Lindberg, Ankeny Theatre Program Chair

3-minute read.

First and foremost, we want to extend a huge thank you to everyone working in the health field and other essential services right now. Thank you for putting yourselves at risk to keep the rest of us healthy!

Those of us who are doing the social distancing thing… I think we’re learning a lot about the value of art...

If you have time to pass while socially distancing, how are you passing that time?

Is music helping? Or TV and movies (even your favorite documentaries are manipulating the story perfectly with cliffhangers and reveals)? How about a good book? Or time doodling or drawing? Video games?

These challenging times are helping us to realize that art has deep meaning and purpose in our lives. It comforts us and takes our mind off of things. It helps us to feel connected to others or empathize with someone who’s having a hard day. Perhaps like all of those on the front lines during this pandemic and those isolating completely alone.

It may have been easy to overlook how important storytelling, tunes, and cool graphic designs were when we could let them be a brief escape or some background ambience. But now the arts are truly sustaining us. They are helping us feel less isolated.

That’s because the arts and culture reinforce our shared humanity. They help us to feel, and think, and not think. How we are feeling and what we think about can help us to communicate in these times where we are adjusting to our new normal. Even if we’re only communicating with our own thoughts while we engage with a song or story or painting, part of the comfort is finding meaning and connection to others in those works. We are not alone. 

Hopefully, when we’re back out in the social world we continue to see these connections with those around us through culture and the arts. 
Hopefully we see culture and the arts as crucial catalysts of community and meaning in life. 
Hopefully, when we’re back out in the social world, we have zero second thoughts about adding the A to STEM, because we need STEAM to be fulfilled and well-rounded. 

We need art and culture to forge bridges and cement the fact that we have common hopes and fears in this time of isolation and change.


Posted September 11, 2019

​Post by Carl Lindberg, Theatre Program Chair.

2-minute read.

One week has passed since we held auditions for our Fall 2019 productions and I am still reeling from the interest in our growing program. We were blown away by the influx of individuals interested in Theatre and in the overall talent that was showcased.

Last Spring about 32 people auditioned for 16 roles and there was pretty much one person who wanted to work on the technical theatre side of our productions. This Summer 27 people auditioned for 12 roles. 

This Fall 45 people auditioned for 22 roles and another 15 (and counting) have expressed interest in crew and tech positions.

A sincere thank you to everyone who had the courage to share their time, energy, and talent with us: Thank you!

I'm happy to see that Theatre at DMACC is healthy and growing and we're excited to keep this momentum up.

Final Bows - Andy

Posted June 25, 2019

​Post by Andy Funke, Theatre Program Student transferring to Iowa State

4-minute read

When I first came to DMACC, I didn't know what I was doing. Throughout the past few years I had looked into programs for English, Math, Spanish, Computer Science, and Journalism all as possible majors. Theatre was on my interests lists too, but I never saw it as my best option seeing as my only pre-DMACC experience consisted of one summer camp when I was younger and being in the ensemble of musicals in high school.

Since Intro to Theatre ended up being my favorite class my first semester at DMACC, I figured I might as well take Carl's acting class as an elective in the spring, and also went ahead and auditioned for the spring play Mauritius. I got cast in Mauritius and about two weeks into rehearsal it hit me that I had found what I wanted to do.

The year and a half since has been nothing short of an amazing experience. I've gotten to act in two Shakespeare plays (the second of which being our current production, Love's Labor's Lost), a 10 minute scene, and a staged reading. I also found a new love for backstage work after helping run lights for one show and assistant stage managing another. I've also gotten to work with a lot of talented people. Every experience is a mix of working with new people and with people that I've been working with since Mauritius, both of which is always fun.

The best part, however, is always getting to see my friends grow. Everyone that I have worked with or seen on multiple plays has shown growth, either as an actor or in other areas too. Being part of a community where I constantly get to see the people around me improve and succeed at something they love to do is awesome and I'm always inspired by it. The thing I'm most going to miss about DMACC Theatre is the people, but I'm excited to see what their next steps are.

Overall, I'm so grateful that I found this program and got to continue being part of it for a year and half. I'm going to miss it, but I'm also excited to start getting experience and making connections in other places too. I can't wait to see what the future holds for me. But no matter where I end up in the future, the DMACC theatre program will always be a big part of what got me there.

When the Power Goes Out

Posted June 23, 2019

​Post by Carl Lindberg, Theatre Program Chair

7-minute read

Our second performance of Summer Short Shakespeare '19, Love's Labor's Lost was an eventful one. Especially for anyone who experienced closing night of Summer Short Shakespeare '18.

Here's a short version of that backstory, for context: ​​We started Comedy of Errors in it's outdoor performance space... the wind picked up and a raincloud was headed our way. So we paused the show after Scene 2 and moved the play to our backup, indoor venue. Rain fell and continued to fall. Ankeny got 10" of rain in an hour and there was flash flooding all over the Des Moines metro area... Eventful circumstances for a play.

Because of that event, plus another rainout and extreme heat during the Summer of '18 run, I decided to find an indoor venue for Summer Short Shakespeare '19.

Cut to show #2 of Love's Labor's Lost. ​There was rain in the forecast. Not a problem, right? We're perfor​ming indoors! Well... near the end of the show we began to hear thunder rumble. Rain started po​unding the roof of the Library. Then, all of a sudden...

The power went out.

We were about 2 minutes from the end of the play, and the actors... they pressed on. A line or two got uttered in the dark (with some clever ad libbing). Then a light hit them. Then another.

Everyone began to turn on the flashlights on their phones. And by everyone I mean the cast who were using phones as props, the front of house staff, and many in the audience. No one panicked. Everyone decided collectively, and without discussion, we would finish this play together. As a community. 

30 or 45 seconds later the power came back on. A minute or so after the play concluded. And the audience stood to applaud.

The reality is that the standing ovation was for all of us, not just the actors. It acknowledged the moment and the presence of the group to move forward. Particularly Jaquenetta (Paris Sc​​hnell) and Costard (Alex "Brownie" Brown) who decided to keep going with the dialogue.

For me, this is why I love the theatre. If the power went out during a movie? It's over. But live storytelling has the power to connect actors and audience and foster community. Especially in these rare and unique performa​nces. If we create circumstances that encourage and allow everyone to be present, when the power goes out (something we could never prepare for or rehearse), we all know what to do. Because what we know is not dependent upon thinking or our brains, but rather our gut response and positive intentions for the well-being of the whole.

(In hindsight... I almost wish that, instead of adding my flashlight to the stage, I would have taken a picture!)​

Final Bows - Brownie

Posted June 15, 2019

​Post by Alex Brown, Theatre Program Student​

4-minute read.

A little over two years ago I started at DMACC, and then shortly after that, I started doing productions in the theatre department here, (shout out to the cast and crew of Fools!). From there on I would go to work on anything and everything I could with DMACC Ankeny Theatre and even change my major to Theatre. This group of people and this department have taught me a lot and this has been an amazing home for the past two years, I wouldn’t change any of the experiences I’ve had here. Whether it be working on lights in the Black Box and helping Carl with the bane of our existence (the green light on the lift), hiding out in the vestibule before shows, or just hanging out with the many friends I’ve made during rehearsals, there are so many memories here.

Now it's a week away from the opening of Love’s Labor’s Lost, which will be my final show at DMACC, and it has really started to hit me that this will be my last one. It really is quite the show to go out on too, this show will be absolutely hilarious for audiences. I won’t give away too much but there are some moments with dancing in heels and some boy band moments in the show. I promise it’s a show you won’t want to miss and will love watching. So, definitely come watch Love’s Labor’s Lost!

So, this last paragraph will be a little cheesy, not going to lie. It’s going to be a little weird at first not being at DMACC and auditioning for productions here. Moving on to a new school and working with new people is something I’m so excited for, its right around the corner. But I know DMACC Ankeny Theatre will be a place that I’ll miss so much. To the friends I’ve made here, you all mean so much to me, you all continue to inspire me. To the Theatre Program and DMACC, it’s been an amazing and fun two years. To quote a song by Every Avenue, "this is see you later, I’m not into goodbyes." And to anyone who is ​​looking into theatre for a major or just interested in doing theatre stuff, DMACC Ankeny Theatre is an amazing place to go, it’s a welcoming and accepting environment that will begin to feel like home and family before you know it.

So Many Orange Slices

Posted April 15, 2019

Post by Carl Lindberg, Theatre Program Chair.

5-minute read.

We've been posting at least one picture from every show so far, and I feel like it may help to share more about this idea.

The straight forward part of this... is I think it's interesting to get to share a photo with our audiences that was actually taken on stage during the action--it gives the audience a clear actor perspective. "We put ourselves in your shoes." an audience member once told a dear actor-fiend of mine.​


The deeper cut is that this show, The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe, is so well written and so deftly handles so many themes about living and learning that I wish I could sit and highlight them all. But this moment, with the orange slices, so simply and wonderfully helps us see peer pressure and what it means to a person to want to be a part of the group. A group, any group. It shows us that even when we are trying to include someone in something bigger, we may not be succeeding if we can't be transparent and simultaneously open minded about how the person we think we're inviting in responds.

In the play, #46 isn't in the picture. She's the outsider, and she doesn't understand why it's being taken. Nor do we, really--it never gets explained. But that doesn't matter, because these orange slice moments hold so much meaning for the characters that it matters to us. #25 asks her to be in the picture--a nice thing to do. But #46 isn't sure she wants to join when she isn't sure what the meaning of the orange slices is. She's told to join anyway. The result is these pictures I keep posting.


And I feel like it tells an important story.

(Photos by Krister Strandskov.)


Posted April 10, 2019

​Post by Katie Huck, Theatre Program Student.

3-minute read.

I’ve never been in a production where I’ve had to play a sport on stage. I’ve tumbled on stage as choreography, but I’ve never had to control a ball as part of the play. So, this play is completely different than anything I’ve done. ​

Things never go exactly the same, exactly the way you want every time. Any time we do a run through, it’s always different. Sure, we have memorized lines that don’t change, and we have set blocking, but the ball never goes to the exact spot it did before. We all had to get comfortable with the soccer ball so it doesn’t have to be same every time. It took some time before everyone was in a comfortable place, but we did it. 

To help prepare, we attended soccer practices, or bootcamps, with members from the DMACC soccer team. We learned proper techniques and the right strategies. Some the cast had already played soccer in the past, but I did not. I’ve kicked around a soccer ball before, but I’ve never played the game. There was a lot I didn’t understand about the sport. That’s why the bootcamps were super helpful for me. We did a lot of drills to practice passing the ball to other people, and we learned some of the drills that are in the show. 

The bootcamps were super beneficial to me and the rest of the team. It helped us become comfortable with the ball, and now if things don’t go as planned on stage, we know how to handle the situation. If a ball goes offstage (hopefully that doesn’t happen!), we know how to take care of it. If we didn’t have bootcamps, we would be in trouble for sure. 

It’s something completely different than what I’ve done, but it’s been such a positive experience. I’m glad to have worked on this production greatly and I can’t wait for crowd to come watch what we’ve all worked so hard on! ​

How Did She Do That??

Posted March 29, 2019

​Post by Julianne Ungs, Theatre Program Student and Carl Lindberg, Theatre Program Chair.

3-minute read.

Julianne was cast as Gertie in our recent production of Fuddy Meers by David Lindsay-Abaire; a role that provided a unique challenge, considering the way the character speaks after recently suffering a stroke.

Here are some examples of how those lines look, with their translations to the right:



I asked Julianne, as did many others, what her memorization process was like. Here's what she said...

Memorizing Gertie’s lines was a unique challenge for me. The lines aren’t gibberish they are just jumbled. The first thing I had to do was understand what Gertie was actually saying. The playwright knew the person playing Gertie would need “translations” so to speak. All of Gertie’s lines and their translations are towards the end of the script. The translations helped me tremendously when I had to put meaning to the jumbled words and syllables. Gertie knows what she is saying and when she speaks she understands it perfectly so I needed to be able to show that.

After learning what the lines meant I started to memorize them as I would any other lines. I read them aloud with members of my family filling in the other characters lines. I also practiced by myself during breaks at work and in between my activities.

I memorized Gertie’s lines relatively the same as I have memorized other characters lines in the past, repetition. It was just a little different this time. I enjoyed the challenge and hope to play different types of characters in the future.​

ACTF 2019 Reflection

Posted February 26, 2019

​Post by Olivia McQuerry, Theatre Program Student.

3-minute read.

The best of my week at ACTF started half way through at a meeting for people of color to network and share our experiences and struggles in and out of theatre. I was reminded of the importance of not only ​​​​finding friends that support you, but a community that embraces you. I was finally joined in a discussion among those who’ve faced the same issues I have, but I’m hearing about issues I’ll eventually have to face. Here are just a few of the many questions and comments we discussed:

  • Why should I have to ask you to put yourself in my shoes in order for you to respect me?

  • Why do you have to pretend to be hurt just for you to realize you haven’t been treating me right?

  • ​When I walk into an audition, I shouldn’t feel like I’m competing with the other black people for the token minority role.

  • ​I was so hyped when I heard that we were doing West Side Story, and then I realized there were hardly any Puerto Ricans at the school to start with. Let alone those involved in theatre. The next season we weren’t allowed to do Hairspray because the segregation in the show was a “touchy subject” and “too controversial.”

  • ​He told me my audition was better than the white girl that they cast, but I’m “not what they were looking for.”

  • ​I could play that part just as well if they gave me a chance. But they see my skin and don’t think twice about giving me an ensemble role. It’s like the show was cast before auditions even started.

  • ​When a show specifically calls for the character to be a person of color, it’s because the show is about discrimination and prejudice. When a show specifically calls for the character to be white, it’s because other characters were specifically called to be people of color.

Being biracial, I had always felt underrepresented on stage. I could never quite see myself in the stories being told. When seeing a show, I would often only pay partial attention to the story, instead focusing my attention on one of the few minorities in the ensemble. Once I’d realized what I had been doing, I felt discouraged and lost the self-assurance to forge a new path. Besides, I’m not an actor (I guess now is a good time to mention that I stage manage). I drifted away from theatre, but despite nothing grabbing hold of my attention, I could never really let go. Fast forward through stage managing DMACC shows, seeing Hamilton (aka representation) for the first time, and shadowing professionals in the field. For the first time I’m seeing a w​ork space that is truly diverse. And in going to KCACTF, I’ve was met with a community that’s working to make this a more common reality.

The Quest for World Domination, Part 1

Posted January 25, 2019

​Post by Carl Lindberg, Theatre Program Chair

3-minute read.

Which came first: the chicken or the egg?

I couldn't tell you. Perhaps a scientist can. Or a theologian.​​

Similarly, when there essentially wasn't a Theatre Program on campus, I just started building one. But as we grow, what is the essential approach that distinguishes us, enrollment? or a bigger program? Do we need students with interest to force growth? or are we using a ​Field of Dreams method ("If you build it, they will come.")?​

I have gone pretty much full steam ahead with the Field of Dreams method... see the previous post, "New Year, New Stuff". But students interest continues to rise. 31 (31!) students auditioned for our 2 plays we're producing this semester. It was easily the hardest casting we've had since I arrived. Acting I was full well before classes started this semester... so we're gonna see if we can run 2 sections of Acting I.

Perhaps, just maybe, the chicken and the egg arrived at the same time?

Obviously, none of the above constitutes World Domination. I'm obviously being a little dramatic with that goal... But I think it's important to look at the bigger picture and try to envision what might be accomplished. After all, in acting classes I am always reminding actors to shoot for the moon when it comes to what the character wants. If one gets a near impossible goal achieved, imagine how that might feel.​

Stay tuned for parts 2 through... who knows! how many parts there'll be.

New Year, New Stuff

Posted January 2, 2019

​Post by Carl Lindberg, Theatre Department Program Chair

5-minute read

First of all, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the growth during 2018 for the Theatre Department.​ This year we:

  • wrote 7 new classes to be added to the Drama curriculum in the Fall of 2019 at DMACC, something students have really been asking for. Those classes include...
    • ​Acting II
    • Improvisational Acting
    • Intro to Play Analysis (an important one, because it'll be a pre-req. for Playwriting and Directing)
    • ... Directing! (see above)
    • Performing Shakespeare​
    • Acting for the Camera
    • The Business of Acting (a course about auditioning)
  • ​produced an awesome co-production of Ghost Bike by Laura Jacqmin with Grand View University (I could ((and should)) dedicate another post to this experience)
  • added 2 clubs
    • Ankeny Theatre Ensemble
    • An Improv Club
  • increased our number of auditioners from 18 to 27
  • performed 2 staged readings
    • Miss Julie by August Strindberg
    • Endgame by Samuel Beckett
  • cast more students in productions and staged readings in the Fall of 2018 than any previous semester
  • had a very (wet and) successful second annual Summer Short Shakespeare
  • proved a play about stamps could be interesting
That all stated, we have a lot of work to do!

Spring semester 2019 will be a huge test as we have added another full play to the production calendar: The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe.

The success of our staged readings coupled with the number of students interested in theatre on campus means we can provide students with more opportunities to work in a professionally oriented environment.

In order to be successful with all productions going forward, we have added a guest director for The Wolves, Brittany Beridon, and a resident Designer and Technical Director, Rachel Trimble and Krister Strandskov.

The hope is to move from 3 plays per season (1 in the Fall, 1 in the Spring, and 1 in the Summer) to 5 (2 in the Fall, 2 in the Spring, and Summer Short Shakespeare still solo in the Summer) for the 2019-2020 school year.

By adding courses and full productions to the program, we hope to become an immediate, legitimate option for students considering theatre as a major and/or profession.

Here's to a full plate in 2019!

How It Feels to Prep for An Audition

Posted September 4, 2018

​By Alex Brown, Theatre Program Student

2 minute read.

Auditions are this Tuesday and Wednesday and it is an exciting and anxious few days as we go through this process. Now this blog post is not about HOW to prepare for an audition, but more on how it FEELS getting READY to audition.

The days leading up to an audition are filled with excitement. For me, it is all about getting excited to audition and seeing the auditions from peers because I love seeing how much my peers have grown between auditions from past shows. I start by beginning a countdown till the day of auditions, and from there the excitement starts. But as we approach the day before and the day of auditions, a new wave of emotions hit all at once.

Once they hit the day before/day of auditions, the feeling of excitement still exists, but we add anxiousness and nervousness to the mix. Auditioning may get a little easier as I continue through theatre, but, I promise that the nervousness of auditioning will always be there (because I will always be as nervous as the first time I auditioned!), so, do not feel alone if you go into auditions nervous and everyone else may seem calm, cool, and collected, because deep down, we’re all nervous in some form (it just means that you care.) There will always be worries of not making it on the cast list, the anxiousness of waiting for the cast list to go up, and the excitement to see if you got a part, which is always followed by a vast amount of emotions.

Once auditions are over, all that’s left is the anxiousness of waiting, and it is very possible to get in your head about everything. “Was that audition good enough or could have I done better?” “How is everyone else feeling right now?” “How long will it be before the list goes up?” These are just a few thoughts that go through my head after auditions end, and I’m sure it is the same for many other theatre kids.

Auditions are a wave of many emotions, but, some advice I can offer to those who are incredibly nervous for their audition: Just take a deep breath, collect yourself, and just give it your all. We got this! Good luck to my fellow people auditioning this week, let’s kill it!​

The Pros and Cons of a Memorable Performance

Posted July 17, 2018

​​​​​​​​​​​​​Post By Carl Lindberg, Theatre Department Program Chair

5-minute read.​​​


A Play is Ephemeral

​​Ah, ephemeral, a fancy word, meaning "lasting for a very short time." Synonyms ​include fleeting, passing, short-lived, momentary, brief, short...

Productions of plays are all of these things. We work hard on them for months in advance and perform them a certain number of times, only for that particular production to live on in one's memory alone.

Whether a performance is memorable or not will obviously vary from person to person, and is dependent upon a lot of factors. ​Too many factors to list here.

That being said, we had a performance of Comedy of Errors this summer that I would bet will stick around in a lot of memory banks for a while to come...


​​The Set Up...

If you've made it to this blog, you likely have a sense of what we do at DMACC Ankeny Theatre (we are a professionally-oriented theatre program) and what Summer Short Shakespeare is (a 75-minute adaptation of one of Shakespeare's plays in a non-traditional performance space). There's the extra info... sue me (not really), it's our first blog post...

So this summer (2018) we had 6 performances of Comedy of Errors in an outdoor venue with various weather:

  • Show Number 1 and Show Number 2 had marvelous weather, I mean ideal for an outdoor performance in late June in Iowa.
  • Show Number 3 looked to eascape any inclement weather... then, about an hour-and-a-half before curtain we had downpour. The cast and crew hussled through the rain to set up our backup venue. We got soaked, but the audience didn't. And this is not the most memorable performance.
  • Show Number 4 gave us extreme heat--we started the show in the 90's with humidity. The audience (our biggest) had a great time, and the cast drank a tone of water.
  • Show Number 5 was pretty nice.
  • Then we came to Show Number 6, our final performance. This is where things got interesting...


​The Memorable Performance

There was definitely rain in the area and in the forecast. I decided, in my supreme wisdom and meteorological expertise (neither of which I possess), that the weather would just miss us and we should perform outside in our usual performance space.​

You see where this is heading...

During scene 2 the wind picked up and there were a couple sprinkles. I paused the show between scenes 2 and 3. That's memorable.

We stepped into the hallways of Building 2 and checked the radar. Uh-oh. A storm was coming.

The sprinkle let up and we moved the set, props, and sound equipment into the Black Box Theatre in Building 5 across the way. Also memorable.

After our 15-minute rearrangement I gave a quick before-scene-3, in-a-new-venue curtain speech, mostly to stall, and we picked up where we had left off. Right then the deluge began.


​The Cons of a Memorable Performance

​What makes something a pro versus a con is subjective, like much in life. So take the following cons with a grain of salt.

We got a lot of rain from 7:30 pm the night of Saturday, June 30th, the moment Comedy of Errors re-started and the faucet-in-the-sky opened up. I wasn't using the term deluge as a means of exaggerative storytelling. In the next 2 hours Ankeny would get 10" of rain and it didn't stop at 9:30.

The majority of the cast stayed the night with the play's Courtezan (interesting coincidence) because many roads farther from campus were impassable.

Much of the audience got drenched getting to their cars and had scary drives home in heavy rain, that made it hard to see, and flooded roads.

It was a one-of-a-kind weather occurrence and it hit right in the middle of our play.


​The Pros of a Memorable Performance

​From all accounts, up until the time of this posting, everyone who came to the show in any capacity was safe and eventually got to where they needed to get okay.

No one really got wet while sitting outside watching the show, despite getting soaked on the way to their cars. Some audience members even helped to carry some scenery and props into the Black Box!

The show itself went great.

This was truly a unique set of circumstances to deal with for the actors, audience, and crew. While that wasn't the kind of memorable we had planned for, it's the kind of memorable we got.

And lasting memories made at the theatre are one thing we hope to create.