Theatre2Film project finishes theatre run, begins film production
Celebrating its third consecutive year of student plays with the collaborative efforts of current and former students, Theatre2Film is brought to life again.
Theatre2Film is a project between College of Arts and Letters, College of Communication Arts & Sciences and College of Music. The concept behind Theatre2Film is to take students original plays and adapt it for the screen to become a feature film.
This year’s Theatre2Film play is "Stay With Me" and was shown at Fairchild Theatre Feb. 17-19 and Feb. 21-26.
"Stay With Me" is about the Wallace family who lives on a Midwestern farm. The family is trying to make the family farm life work, but along the way a lot of problems arise.
Theatre senior Megan Cochrane plays Catherine Wallace in the show, the mother of the family, and said the story is centered around this family who has fallen on really difficult times.
“It’s a show about how they cope with it, how they deal with it and there’s a supernatural element to it as well,” Cochrane said.
Cochrane has been doing theatre since middle school and said she is really passionate about her character in this project, but this is her first experience with a feature length film.
“I think it’s really an interesting idea and the whole concept of Theatre2Film, turning it from a theatre piece to a film piece is really interesting to me,” she said.
Because the play is written by students and collaborated with students, Cochrane said that’s what she likes most about this show and how the characters truly relate to each of their own personality.
“I love the fact that it's written by students and former students,” Cochrane said. “It’s very much hands on ... we've been able to kind of rewrite and adjust dialogue as we go, kind of making these characters our own, so in that regard, it’s really cool that we get to originate these characters and kind of make them our own before anyone else has a chance to get their hands on it.”
According to the Wharton Center website, actor and artist-in-residence Timothy Busfield contributed directing. Busfield is an Emmy Award winner and East Lansing native, best known for his roles in "Thirtysomething," "The West Wing" and "Field of Dreams."
Theatre and media information sophomore Mallory Maxton is the stage manager, which requires her to be the liaison between the design team and actors.
“I schedule production meetings with the design team to make sure that the overall vision of the director is being met through design, so like the set, costumes, props and lighting,” Maxton said. “Additionally, I also run the rehearsals … just keeping track of everything that’s happening ... basically just keeping everyone in the loop of what’s going on.”
Maxton said with this play being written from an original script, herself and the other actors and actresses had the freedom to make changes.
“Since it is an original script, we are able to work with it and flesh out as needed,” she said. “It was a very collaborative process and really cool to see in real time."
Theatre junior Nicole Tini plays Moira Wallace, one of the daughters of the family in the play. Tini said she has been doing theatre since freshman year of high school and this was her first Theatre2Film project.
“It’s such a crazy story and takes you on such a roller-coaster, but it’s a really challenging piece and in a way it's beautiful and it's been really, really fun to work on,” Tini said.
"Stay With Me" is scheduled to premiere as full-length feature film at the 2017 Traverse City Film Festival, or TCFF, July 25-30 in Traverse City, Mich.