The Voice


The Voice


The Voice

Out of this world talent: BU Players auditions soar

Colton Bryner
Audience members after the general auditions Monday: From right to left: Alia Storino: costume designer, Tom Halko: sound designer, director Prof. David Miller, Emily Schaffer: assistant director.

Members of Bloomsburg University’s theater program, known as the BU Players, have gained recognition for their outstanding performances in both musicals and traditional plays. This fall semester, they are set to stage an evolving script titled “The Astronots,” written by local playwright Mora V. Harris of Pittsburgh. After overseeing a workshop of the play in 2022, David Miller, the program and play director, decided to select the script for the upcoming fall production. Miller, who is entering his eleventh year at Bloomsburg and serves as an acting and playwright professor, has also directed and taught at various universities in New York during his time in Brooklyn.

The annual plays attract many walks of life with education, English, and science majors in addition to the traditional theatre major. Over 20 people auditioned with carefully chosen monologues for the eight parts, five of which are significant. “A lot of people came out of the woodworks this fall being that it’s not a musical,” said Director David A. Miller. Many students take advantage of the auditioning for the play, not only to get involved, but to earn credits in a fun, theatrical way.

The play itself focuses on a billionaire and four passengers who gained entry into the spaceship they are traveling in during an orbit around the earth. The trip takes unexpected turns which lead the civilians in the ship to question whether they should trust the space authority of CEO Alston Garth.

“One of the interesting stories of auditions was of actor, Colin Search,” said Miller. Search, who was casted as Alston, previously portrayed another character, Reginald, in a workshop version of The Astronots during the first Plays in Bloom Residency in May 2022. “It will be exciting to see how his perspective of the play changes after playing a second character in it,” Miller said of Search’s new role. 

The first round of auditions for The Astronots were held last Monday on September 11th, followed by callbacks the following Thursday. Monday’s auditions were general, which means actors do not audition for any particular part, but rather put themselves out there by performing self-selected monologues for the best-suited role.

In the small audition audience were Alia Storino (Costume Designer), Emily Shaffer (Assistant Director), Tom Halko (Sound Designer), as well as Dr. Winship, future A Divine Kurfuffle director, which is the Players’ next year’s production. “This was my first time I’ve ever gotten to sit in on the audition process, so it was a very cool experience for me,” said Sound Designer, Tom Halko.

Thirteen of those who auditioned were selected for callback auditions where actors auditioned under one or multiple assigned roles. This is where actors can interact with one another and Miller can assess chemistry between actors within their respective roles.

Actors invited to callbacks were assigned seven of the nine roles which included Alston, Sage, Reginald, Faith, Wieland, Hindy, and Cameron (gender-neutral role). “I directorally was incredibly inspired by the auditions and callbacks,” said assistant director Emily Shaffer.

“Specifically with the callbacks and getting to see actors bring their own artistry to Mora’s characters. The world of this play is often referenced by our production team as an “off-beat comedy”, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how we directorially guide this lovely ensemble of actors,” Shaffer continued.

“As sound designer, I found the callbacks especially helpful,” said sound designer Tom Halko. Halko, who creates and selects both new and pre recorded sound for the play has the unique role of developing all music and noise featured in the play. “One thing that David and I had talked about very early in the process was the “beep beep boop boop” and exaggerated qualities of the sound,” he continued.

“Finding inspirations has been helpful to me,” he said after citing Galaga, the Camping Episode of Spongebob as one of his sources of inspiration for sound effects. “Getting to hear David’s direction to the actors in their scenes helped me get a better vision of what he wants from the play and the actors, which helps me figure out how I will continue in my work to fully realize that vision.”

The play will take place from November 2nd to November 5th at the Alvina Krause Theatre downtown, and is free for BU students with an ID. More information on the play and the cast can be found in The Astronots’ event page, and tickets can be purchased from the Arts in Bloom ticket office.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Kyla Leathers, Multimedia Journalist
Colton Bryner, Multimedia Journalist

Comments (0)

All The Voice Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *