Just west of the Testing Center sits the Maeser Building, the oldest building on campus. While the building is rich with history, one rumor of the building’s past is of particular interest — the Maeser Building was allegedly built on an old pioneer graveyard.
The BYU Experimental Theatre Company was inspired by this rumor and will present an interactive theater experience, “Ghost Stories,” in the Maeser Building, Thursday through Saturday, at 7:30 and 9:30 each night. Single tickets are $3 and couples tickets are $5.
Patrick Hayes, from Rockledge, Fla., is a first-year graduate student studying theater and wanted to help create new on-campus theater experiences. Working with the Experimental Theatre Company as the artistic director for the production, he has been instrumental in creating this unique theater experience.
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“It’s a devised theater piece, which means the actors, as well as the director, create the performance itself — which is a departure from the narrative-driven script course,” Hayes said. “It’s phenomenal what our director has been able to do and what our actors have come up with.”
The venue for the performance is interesting in and of itself, but the presentation is what really makes the production live up to the experimental part of the Experimental Theatre Company’s name.
“We’ve been given special permission by the school to use the whole building as a space,” Hayes said. “It’s not being done in the auditorium; the whole building will be used as a theater. We’ll be having groups of up to 50 people a performance walking through the building and encountering our actors that are staged in different classrooms and found spots in the building.”
The director for the show is Bergen Goesch, a senior from Woodbridge, Va., studying theater media arts. Just six weeks ago she began the process of casting actors and creating the show. The actors have taken the elements of what is to be a ghost, separated them and created art to recreate those same feelings, Goesch said .
Their main goal is to create an event the audience helps create and hopefully shares with others afterward. While the performance is scripted, the audience’s reaction is what will complete the production.
“This show invites the audience to interact with the performers and be involved in the story,” Goesch said. “We will be creating a dialogue even as the show is being performed. It will be a social experiment to see what audience members are willing to do and if they are willing to break the fourth wall and see if they will do something they normally wouldn’t be able to do.”