A look at the Theatre Department

Directing Jeff Stover is the Technical Director here at Missouri Western. He is in charge of directing basically everything except for the actors. For “Godspell”, the theatre departments latest production that premiered in early April, he worked as the Technical Director and on lighting design. There are a lot of things that go into directing. It entails working with everyone and every component of the shows. Directors have to work with everyone involved in the productions to accomplish the desired goal. “Basically the director's main responsibility is to be the artistic vision in the show. What is the message that the play write is trying to put out there. Then when that is determined they have to figure out how to tell the audience that,” Stover said. Directors also have creative liberties when it comes to deciding on the theme of the show. Some shows have to be done in the way they were written, but in some, like “Godspell” and “The Marriage of Figaro,” the directors were able to take them and alter them. “Godspell” was set in modern times so the costumes and set were all modern to 2016. The actors costumes were modeled off of what they normally wear on an average day. For “The Marriage of Figaro”, the theme was set in the 80s. Costumes, hair and music all celebrated the best of what the 80s had to offer. To Stover, theater is important because it is an art that has stood the test of time. “It's a 4000-year-old art form. When film came around, they said it was the death of theater. When TV came around they said that's the death of theater. Well then, why didn't theater die?” Stover said. He finds that it is a way to reflect society's actions back out to the public. “There's a lot of reasons why theater is important. I was taught very early in my career that theater is holding a mirror up to society. If you can have an audience member change their point of view on life by one degree you will have changed their lives substantially,” Stover said. Stover also believes that theater, like most professions, is a tool from which a person can learn life skills. "For me theater skills are life skills," Stover said. "So anything that you want to do in life theater skills can help you. Lets say you want to go out and be a sales person, well you're going to have to go stand up in front of people and talk, well that's acting." Acting Makenna Snyder has been acting since she was five years old. Her mother was a theater director and owns a theater company in Kansas City for kids. Because she was exposed at an early age, it has always been a big part of her life. Snyder has been involved in about 35 different productions throughout the course of her life. Here at Missouri Western she has acted in “Urinetown” and “Godspell.” For Snyder, theater started out as a way to see her friends, but she grew to love it because she could play characters and make people happy. She finds that there are multiple reasons why theater is important. “I think theater is important to do because there’s a lot of self expression involved, and you’re really able to understand yourself better as you try to understand the character,” Snyder said. Not only does she find it important for the people who are a part of it, but for the community as well. “I think its important to support, as in going to local theater productions, because it is an art form and it is a part of our culture, and I think its important to support people who are putting themselves out there like that,” Snyder said. Missouri Western's most recent production, “Godspell,” was a fun experience for Snyder, who was a part of the ensemble. She enjoyed working with the small close-knit cast. “This show was nice because we were all together all the time and it wasn’t just focused on yourself, it was focused on the show itself and keeping the show going and working together,” Snyder said. Costume Designing Linnea Edlin was the costume designer for the production of “Godspell” and this is her fifth year being a part of theater. Coming into college, she didn't have any experience with theater. As a freshman, she took Intro to Theater with Don Lillie. She didn't know it at the time, but his class changed the course of her life as she knew it. “I took Don Lillie's intro to theater class and he offered extra credit if you went back stage, and the first time I went back stage I actually freaked out and left because I was so shy my freshman year,” Edlin said. After her initial fear, she gave it a second chance and went back. “But then I went back and he told me to make a tree and he handed me plaster, a mortar, a paint scraper, stir stick and a wire brush. He showed me how to spread plaster and do all these things.  I made a tree, and I was covered in plaster, and I loved it so I was like 'I'm gonna come back,' and I did,” Edlin said. Edlin eventually found her way into wardrobe and has stayed there ever since. Being the costume designer for “Godspell” was exciting for Edlin because this was her first show doing renderings. The creation process was very rewarding for her. “Basically I started with Tee's concept and researched and developed my own. Then go from sketching to painting, to realizing the actual costume pieces,” said Edlin. The show was set in modern times too, so finding costumes for the actors was simple. “People loved their costumes. They were organic and based off of what the actors usually wear,” Edlin said. For Edlin, the theater is a place that taught her the lesson of dependability. She explained that when you are given a task, it is yours alone. If you don't do it, it won't get done. Everyone has their own job and is expected to do it. She thinks that theater is important because of its connection to the other arts and its ability to reach people. “Theater is special because it combines the arts. It's the written, it's the performance because you're using your using your body as a medium, and it's also the music and it's dance. All of the different arts,” Edlin said.

Spring concert rock Civic Arena

Maddie and Tae headlined this year's spring concert with openers Brothers Osborne and Nine Miles to Nowhere, giving country music fans a fun night of music and dancing. Nearly 1,200 tickets were sold for the concert, with about 300 of those belonging to Missouri Western students. Chair of Concert, Dylan Barnes, says the Western Activities Council (WAC) was pleased with the turnout at this year's show. "I actually think it went really well," Barnes said. "I was actually surprised by how much of the community came out. Student wise, we had roughly about three hundred students, but we had twelve hundred to thirteen hundred total, which I thought was really well." The good turn out could be linked to the genre of music chosen. Last semester, WAC released a survey to see which type of artist the students most wanted to see, with the ending result being country. "Usually country we do the best turn out of any other genre that we do, so I mean I look forward to seeing what the new e-board does next year with what we have," Barnes said. The overall reaction from the concert was positive, with audience members saying all three of the musical acts sounded great, were full of energy and gave an exciting performance for the students and community members. "From the reaction, I could tell that everyone really liked the concert. It went really well and hopefully it will just get better from here for next years," Barnes said. At this time WAC doesn't have any information about next year's event, but they will be releasing another survey for students next fall to vote on the genre of music the student body would most like to see.  

An un-Belize-able trip

mwsu-at-xunantunich (1)
Spring break is always a nice intermission to the semester for all students, and for the BIO 220 Field Natural History class, it was nothing short of an adventure. Dr. Mark Mills lead 27 students plus two other chaperones, including his wife Louise Mills and Dr. Robert Nulph, to Belize for the duration of the break. BIO 220 is a class that anyone in the department can teach. Professors wishing to teach it must submit a proposal and destination. The class curriculum is then based off of the landscape and wildlife of whatever country or location is chosen. This year the trip was planned for Belize. Dr. David Ashley usually leads the class and the trip, but due to some personal health issues, he was unable to teach the class. Mills took over the class and lead the students on the trip. “Dr. David Ashley was the instructor and I was just going to go along to learn the ropes. He has been doing it for years. To go from being an observer to, hey I'm in charge, the game changes a little,” Mills said. Regardless of the plan changing suddenly, Mills said that the trip was great and that it was a wonderful experience for himself and the students. “Even though it was a biology trip, we were learning about the culture and the history. There’s more happening on one of these trips, its the pinnacle of applied learning.” Mills expressed the importance of applied learning repeatedly. One cannot learn the same things in a classroom that they can learn actually going to a place like Belize. Tammy Glise, the trip coordinator, spoke about what all goes into planning one of these trips. Students have to sign a series of documents, get passports and provide emergency medical information before going on a trip. There are usually between six and eight trips like this every year. While travel abroad experiences are a fun cultural experience, there is always an educational side to them. “There needs to be an academic component. We want the students to be able to earn credit hours, and of course we're not a travel agency. We're here to provide a travel experience that is a learning experience and fun, we hope, too,” Glise said. Jordan Snook was one of the students who went on the Belize trip. For her, going was one way to ensure that her senior year would stand out. “I decided to go because of hearing about it, and this being my last semester, I wanted it to be one big event. This was like a once in a life time opportunity to learn down there and I've never been out of the country,” Snook said. Snook was moved by the things she saw while on the trip. She talked about the differences between America and the third world poverty-stricken country of Belize. The cultural differences were both interesting and shocking to her. Belize is covered in national parks and everything is very well preserved. Most of the places the group went were protected areas such as Mayan ruins and coral reefs. “Seeing how they preserve and care about everything around them. They're really protective of their environment and I think that's really cool because I don't think we focus on that enough here,” Snook said. The group stayed on the mainland for part of the trip and on the island of San Pedro for the second part. While there, they explored Mayan ruins, jungles and the second largest coral reef in the world. For Snook, learning about and experiencing the ruins was her favorite part of the trip. “My favorite part is probably different from other people, but I really liked the Mayan ruins. Just walking up and realizing these were built before Christ walked, and we were able to see how they lived and picture in our minds what they have still yet to uncover. It just felt like sacred ground,” Snook said. Mills found his most memorable experience from the trip to be under the water. “Seeing all the coral reef fish was tremendous. I've seen pictures of them and I've seen them in aquariums, but to see this fish out there on the reef is tremendous. As a herpetologist probably seeing a sea turtle in the ocean. But to see them, to be swimming with them in the water, frankly was almost like an out of body experience. I don’t even know how to describe it. You feel like you’re outside of your body experiencing it,” Mills said. There are opportunities available for all students. Regardless of major, anyone who has had one science class on campus can sign up for BIO 220. Other departments offer study abroad experiences as well. Study abroad trips are ones that will create life long memories. Not only are they learning opportunities, but life experiences as well.

A brief history of Easter

As a kid, Easter was always about hunting for eggs, making delicious treats and getting gifts from the Easter Bunny, but as we grow older it’s important to understand why the holiday is celebrated. Jay Lemanski, assistant professor of history, explains that Easter begins with the Jewish Festival of Passover. “Passover commemorates when the Jews were slaves in Egypt and how God freed them from slavery,” Lemanski explained. In the New Testament, Jesus went to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover when the crucifixion and resurrection occurred. Because the resurrection of Jesus occurred on a Sunday, the day became the Christian’s day of worship. The Christians encountered a problem when deciding the date in which to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection because the Christian calendar differed from the Jewish calendar. The Jewish calendar is based on the moon, where a new month begins on sunset at the first sliver of the new moon. So, the days don’t line up the same on a year–to–year basis the way the Christian calendar does. Passover takes place on the 15th day of the Jewish calendar, which always occurs on a full moon. The Jewish wanted to celebrate the resurrection the third day after Passover when Jesus rose again, but the Christians wanted to celebrate it on a Sunday, so a compromise was made. “In 325, at the council of Nicea, [the early Christians] came up with this hideous formula for calculating the day of Easter,” Lemanski said. “It’s the Sunday as close to Passover as you can get.” The traditions of Easter, such as the egg and bunny, are celebrated to symbolize the rebirth or resurrection: they are both symbols of fertility.

Stress detrimental to students sleep habbits

College is a stressful time for most students with having to learn how to manage their time. The stress can cause all sorts of problems health-wise, with sleep deprivation being one of them. When many students get to college, it is the first time they are on their own. There are no parents around to enforce rules, to make sure homework gets done or to make sure they get sleep. The Residents Hall Director for Scanlon Hall and Campus Counselor, Jamie Exline, has firsthand experience seeing the students in the dorms and has observed students not getting enough sleep. “College students don't get sleep. Freshman especially- all their friends are hanging out til 2 or 3 am. They have those social phobias and they don't want to miss cool stories,” Exline said. Coming to college is an exciting time, but nothing should be worth losing much needed sleep over. One of the biggest contributors to losing sleep is anxiety. Many students struggle with it as they adjust to college life. Exline has noticed that when students are not organized they develop anxiety and suggests they do something to fix it. “Mapping out your day, staying organized and understanding what time management means. To actually sit down and figure out what that means for them. That helps a lot with helping them sleep,” Exline said. The Resident Assistants Exline supervises are some of the busiest students on campus. Managing classes and RA work can be exhausting, and Exline always talks to them about taking care of themselves. “I do talk with them about self care. I encourage them too and teach them about meditation and exercising. Basically just taking care of themselves; they do so much. Its important to build those habits now before you become professionals,” Exline said. Online Statistics and Recommendations There are a lot of suggestions on the internet and from medical professionals when it comes to good sleep habits to develop. One of the most common suggestions is to get into a schedule. When you have a nightly routine to follow, your body and mind realize that it is time to wind down and sleep. Most internet sites say that keeping it consistent is very important. Other suggestions include cutting back on screen time, meaning electric devices such as cell phones, TV or computers. The brightness from the devices keep your brain active. A better alternative would be a book. Taking too long of a nap is also discouraged. Napping for too long or too late in the day will make it harder to fall asleep when it comes time to go to bed for the night. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Seven out of ten adults in the United States say they experience stress or anxiety daily, and most say it interferes at least moderately with their lives... Seven out of ten of those adults say they have trouble sleeping.” One of the biggest, but overlooked things is avoiding caffeine later in the day. There are many foods and beverages that people don't even realize have caffeine in them such as chocolate or tea. Many students will drink coffee or energy drinks in order to stay up later to study or finish homework, but what they don't realize is the long term damage they are doing to their sleep cycle. Recommendations from Professionals The counselors on campus see a lot of students due to anxiety or depression. Sleep deprivation often goes hand in hand with both of those issues. Harold “Dave” Brown, the Director of Counseling at Missouri Western, spoke about how important sleep is for a college student. “Sleep is essential. If you're not getting proper sleep it effects every part of your being from your physical health, spiritual health and mental health, so sleep is essential. Particularly college students, because they are in a situation just by the very definition of college; it's a high stress situation and you've got to be able to sleep in order to replenish, revitalize and recharge,” Brown said. When someone is suffering from anxiety they might not know it immediately. Symptoms are what lead to a diagnosis, and sleep is an early indicator. “Often times when they complain about sleep it is a symptom of something else. Sleep is probably one of the first things affected by a person's psyche and by their mental make up. If you're not healthy and you're not well, sleep is one of the first things that can be affected,” Brown said. Brown went on to explain how the lack of sleep can physically affect a person. “It has been shown that when you deprive a person of REM sleep over the course of several days they begin to hallucinate, they begin to have delusions and they see things that aren’t there, because your mind craves that opportunity to shut down, go on automatic pilot and work out the processes of the day. And if you don't give your brain the opportunity to do that it can affect it profoundly,” Brown said. Students often go to the Student Health Center when they are feeling the effects of anxiety. Marti Burri, the registered nurse on campus, says that a lack of sleep can negatively affect your body. “The immune system goes down and you get sick easier [when you don't sleep],” Burri said. The Nurse Practitioner Beth Roderick says that it is very common for students to come see her for anxiety reasons. “Sometimes if it's not that severe we will refer them to the counseling center and sometimes the counseling center can give them some relaxation techniques. It might just be as simple as reminding them of sleep hygiene, healthy diet and exercise,” Roderick said. Roderick noted that during big testing times on campus she sees an influx of students due to anxiety and sleep deprivation. “This time of year and during finals I see a lot of anxiety and trouble sleeping because people are cramming for finals or midterms and they're drinking monster and other energy drinks. They come in and their heart rate is over 100 and they're bouncing off the walls,” Roderick said. Twitter Survey In a Twitter survey, 24 college students answered how many hours of sleep they get on week nights and whether or not they use supplements to fall asleep. Out of those surveyed, 83 percent said that they get between 5-8 hours of sleep. 8 percent say they get between 3-5 hours, 5 percent say they get 8-11 hours and only 4 percent get under 3 hours. Of those same people who were surveyed, 65 percent say they do not use any kind of sleep aids to help them fall asleep. Thirteen percent said yes they do use them, and 22 percent said they do sometimes. Good sleep habits are something that are developed over time. College students are in a stressful time in their lives and need to make sure they are taking care of themselves mentally and physically. Getting help when they are stressed and finding a good routine to follow are just two small things they can do to make sure they are living a healthy lifestyle.