Performers bow at the end of “Murder, May I?,” one of the shows the theater class has attended. Photo by Sonja Brandt.
By Daniel Heitshusen
The theater study tour class allows for students to see many different shows and gives them the opportunity to discuss what they saw.
Bryan Moore, professor of communication and theater arts, teaches the study tour class.
Moore explained who the class is designed for.
“I would say it’s meant for anybody who is interested in seeing theater of different kinds, different presentations, locations,” Moore said. “One of my goals for the class is to try and select shows from a variety of different theatre sizes and skill levels so students can see that theater comes from a range of sources and still have good quality.”
The class, which has been offered since 2011, is presently a spring semester night class, but it has not always been this way.
“I have offered spring study tour for a while now,” Moore said. “Usually we travel for one large block of time either during spring break or May term, anywhere from nine to 16 days depending on the schedule. And we would travel to a region or a number of cities and watch theater as we go.”
In the past, they have gone as far as Nevada, Texas and even into Canada.
Now, however, the tour is set up differently so that the tour does not have to travel so far every day.
“This is the first year that I have taught the tour or have spread the tour out over the entire semester,” Moore said. “It was partially because, when I started researching theaters, both locally as well as nationally, the variety of shows was just as good around here as it was [at] the other locations that I was looking at for this year.”
The class meets on Thursday nights, and they frequently use that time to see a show, though they occasionally do so on a Saturday.
Some of the shows they have seen and will see this semester include “Much Ado About Nothing,” “The Importance of Being Earnest,” “A Bronx Tale,” “Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company,” “Once” and more. They will be going to places such as the Lied Center, the Orpheum, Nebraska Wesleyan University and will even see two shows in Kansas City.
After seeing a play, the class discusses their thoughts on it, giving critiques and observations. They are also asked to keep a journal about the shows they have seen and write a couple of papers.
“My big goal is for them to know how to analyze and critique art beyond just saying, ‘I like it’ or ‘I don’t like it,’” Moore said. “You have to be able to explain why.”
There are fees related to taking this class. This semester, the fees only covered tickets, which made it much more affordable than previous years.
“I think anyone who’s interested in watching theater should consider the class,” Moore said. “It’s a rare opportunity to be able to devote this much time to just watch plays … we’re able to see a lot of great shows in a usually compressed amount of time. Even 13 shows in one semester is quite a bit. More than anyone would probably do in a normal circumstance. I think it’s a great opportunity to do at least once.”
Moore said that they often have students and faculty who are not in the class join them to see the shows. Anyone who would like to join them to see future shows may speak with Moore.