Mercer Cluster

Organization Spotlight: Mercer Players

Ashley Mann

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Throughout the years, the Mercer Players have continued to entertain students and faculty with their talents through plays and musicals.
“I would say the goals and objectives are fostering an environment of theater appreciation and information where we would work together as a group to enhance our craft, so that we can be productive actors, actresses and technicians when we graduate,” said senior co-president Kyle Shook.
This year, the organization hosts bi-weekly studio events where students may attend in order to strengthen their theatrical talents. These classes serve as a platform where students can rehearse monologues, perform musical theater numbers and play improvisational games.
“We are just enhancing the processes so that we can work constructively as a group to make everyone better,” said Shook.
The organization is also looking forward to incorporating nights that are specifically tailored to different aspects of theater, such as dance night.
This semester, the Mercer Players are performing both Alice in Wonderland and Ye Gods. Alice in Wonderland will be produced at the Grand Opera House, which is a part of their children’s theater program.
“We are working on Ye Gods, written and directed by Kyle Shook. That will be [performed] November 30 through December 3 in the Backdoor Theater,” said junior secretary Suzanne Stroup.
The play, which is seven vignettes, deals with interactions between humans and the divine. “It wrestles with questions of faith, questions of practicing faith and questions of the history of where we are now in terms of spirituality as humanity. It is also funny, because it ultimately is a comedy with philosophical undertones” said Shook.
Shook wrote the play as a requirement for a playwriting course during his earlier years at Mercer.  He wrestled with questions such as: why people have the faith that they have, and what are elements that are universal to faith?
“However, what prompted me to want to write a play about this was when a pastor in Florida wanted to burn Korans, although it was very misguided of him. I thought it was an appropriate time to explore why people act the way they do through faith, or why people do not act the way that they should through faith,” said Shook.
Theater was a part of fate for these two Mercer Players, both participating in theater at an early age.
“I wanted to go to soccer camp when I was little, and my parents put me in theater camp. It has just been kind of a life-long love affair for me,” said Stroup.
“When I was little, I always really loved doing theater. I asked to go to theater camp, and my parents told me that I was playing basketball instead. I did basketball for six years, and when I was in middle school I started doing plays, because that is what I wanted to do,” said Shook.
Students looking for a creative release are sure to be a perfect fit for this organization. Mercer Players are looking for “anybody that just wants to play and have fun with us,” exclaimed Stroup.

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Organization Spotlight: Mercer Players