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Student director encourages others to embrace liberal arts, branch out

“Underneath the Lintel” was performed in Tomson 280 on Sept. 22 at 2:30 p.m. “Underneath the Lintel,” written by American playwright Glen Berger, is a  one-actor show about a librarian trying to uncover the story of a recently returned library book that was more than a century overdue. The play was performed by recent St. Olaf graduate Zac Besky ’17 and directed by theater major Timothy Kelly ’19.

“Zac Besky, one of my good friends, and I, we wanted to do just a little student-produced show,” Kelly said.

With the help of a small group of friends who worked on props, projection design, sound, promotion design and house management, they were able to put the show on within a couple weeks of rehearsing together, although Kelly and Besky had been working since the summer.

“I think Zac did a phenomenal job, we had a good turn out, and that was another time where I realized we just have such a supportive department because there were so many people just giving up two hours of their Saturday to come watch this little podunk theater thing we were putting on,” Kelly said. “And they were really complimentary and supportive.”

Despite his interest today in theatrical collaboration both within and outside of official theater department shows, Kelly started his time at St. Olaf not expecting to go into theater.

“I hadn’t done much theater before,” Kelly said. “The very first production I ever did was a little podunk production that my friends and I put on in my friend’s barn.”

He went on to participate in several high school shows, but when he came to St. Olaf, Kelly did not think he had the experience to get into a college production.
In fact, he tried out for a production that fall and did not get in so he continued on with his studies.

Kelly’s interest in theater was rekindled when he learned that the musical that year was “Cabaret.”

“I think, ‘I have to do that, I love musicals, everyone with a heart loves musicals, let’s go for this,’” Kelly said.

“So basically I’m going to be scantily clad on stage and singing in my falsetto throughout the show. And there’s a little bit of me thats like ‘that’s not what I was expecting,’ and there’s a little bit of me that’s like, ‘this is the start of something beautiful.'” – Timothy Kelly ’19

Despite not having high hopes during his audition, Kelly was cast as one of the woman dancers at the Kit Kat Klub.

“So basically I’m going to be scantily clad on stage and singing in my falsetto throughout the show,” Kelly said. “And there’s a little bit of me that’s like ‘that’s not what I was expecting,’ and there’s a little bit of me that’s like, ‘this is the start of something beautiful.’”

It was not until the Quade One Act Festival that Kelly finally realized he wanted to major in theater.

“At the end of that process I think, ‘man, I miss theater,’” Kelly said.

“I need to be able to keep doing this, and I know that I’m going to be a chemistry major. So the only way that I’m going to be able to justify this to myself is to do it as a [second] major.

Kelly said the double major is not as stressfull as some may think.

“The only tricky thing is having the lab/rehearsal debacle. Thankfully labs are normally in the afternoon and rehearsals are in the evening, but when you look at class [in the] morning, lab [in the] afternoon, rehearsal [in the] evening, there’s that whole part of, where do I homework and/or sleep?”

Far from being deterred by his busy schedule, Kelly says he’s loving every second of it.

He would advise that a first year or someone looking to make the most of this liberal arts environment should “do everything.”

Kelly siad he knows students can overcommit themselves, but professors are generally very understanding and will work with students to make their schedules manageable.

“Try the extracurricular things you’ve been afraid of, audition for the show, try out for the sports team, whatever it is you want to do, hecking go for it because this is a great place to do that.”