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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

MSU Theatre teams with nightclub for art’s sake

One of the major complaints students usually have with the Starkville area is the lack of anything different to do beyond the usual bar hopping, drinking, movie watching etc.


Jeffery Elwell, from the department of communication, and Dave’s Dark Horse Tavern, a local nightspot, have concocted a scheme to give the area a new source of entertainment. It is called “Tavern Theater,” a weekly exhibition of short plays put on by students involved with theater at Mississippi State University.


The idea came about when Dave Hood and Dave Odom, proprietors of Dave’s Dark Horse Tavern, decided they “wanted to offer something different.


We began communicating with the theater department,” Hood says.


Elwell says, “The Daves called me late summer … and told me they were interested in doing theater at the Dark Horse.” Elwell says he thought the idea would probably work because he was involved with something similar while a graduate student at LSU, and he said that project was very successful.


Elwell says they talked about the possibilities, including the challenge of the hours of work needed.


“It takes about 30 hours of rehearsal to prepare a short play, so pretty obviously we couldn’t do long plays.” Elwell said.


He says because of Tavern Theater, the theater department started work on its “Festival of New Works,” originally slated for a spring opening.


The “Festival of New Works” is a collection of six new, short plays by various authors. Included in the festival is “The Art of Dating,” an award winning play by Elwell.


He says 15 students were cast in late August and have been rehearsing for over three weeks.


“We’ll have about two or three short plays a night, mostly comedies,” Hood says, adding that “some may be more risque than ones shown on campus.” Elwell adds, “We are going to get a little wilder.”


He does admit to having “a little concern about how the production will be perceived,” due to the limited scale of the production compared to those done in McComas Hall.


“The students will gain from having more performances and performing in a different dynamic,” he adds. stressing the performers will be extremely close to their audience.


Besides being a good experience for the performers, the theater program has the chance to make a little extra money. Hood says the $2 cover charge goes back to the theater program.


“Eighty percent of the [theater program’s] funding comes from box-office receipts, and this will help to defer the costs of the royalties from the new plays being performed,” Elwell says.


He added a little will go to the students involved.


Dave’s will also feed students pizza. “The students were as excited about the pizza as the performance,” Elwell says.


“[The program] has the chance to appeal to a different crowd, particularly older students and faculty,” Hood says.


If you are tired of doing the “same old, same old,” you might want to check out Tavern Theater at 9 p.m. every Tuesday at Dave’s Dark Horse Tavern, beginning this week. Reservations are available.

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MSU Theatre teams with nightclub for art’s sake