This week, Tyler Mitchell returns to the Bud Frank stage as Scratchy in “Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play,” running April 19-22.
A post-electric play? What does that mean?
Our show is set post-apocalypse. There is no electricity, and in the first scene, a group of survivors is sitting around a fire recounting episodes of “The Simpsons.” In act 2, which takes place seven years later, they are recreating those episodes and getting by on what they remember. Act 3 takes place 75 years later.
I’ve heard it is a large production.
Absolutely! This show is big and crazy and the cast list is enormous. The workload and the work ethic required for this show are intense. Some of the things we have had to create in the costume shop are quite unique.
What led you into ETSU’s theatre and dance program?
When I first came to ETSU, I was majoring in a different program and I was looking for something different. An old roommate of mine and I would sit around spending hours creating scripts and videos, and I loved doing it. I knew that what I really wanted to do was to create art. I talked with a friend of mine who was in the theatre program here at ETSU, and he told me many great things about it. I took a chance at something that, looking back, I really had no idea about.
What was your first audition like?
So, ETSU was holding auditions for “Othello” and my friend asked me if I was going to audition. I had never acted and had stage fright, so I told him no. My friend let out a big sigh and waited a moment and said, “Tyler, you just have to do it.”
That night I went to Herb Parker’s audition for “Othello” and was cast in the show. I fell in love with theater and learned so much through the process.
What other shows have you done?
Since “Othello,” I have been in “The Diary of Anne Frank” and “Charlotte’s Web.” I also helped design costumes for “Playhouse Creatures” and was the costume designer for “The Flick” earlier this semester.
And you have been involved in other aspects of theater, too.
Yes, that is one of the strengths in the program. We are trained in acting but we also learn about costumes, scene construction, lighting, stage managing, and a million other elements that go on behind the scenes. I really enjoy working with costumes, and that started back when we were doing “Othello.” I went into the costume shop and our department chair, Karen Brewster, showed me the dress for the character, Desdemona. It was beautiful, but what surprised me even more was that it was created by a student. I could not fathom that a student had made something so amazing. It was the coolest thing ever.
Another important role in any show is the stage manager. They run the show and help keep it running. We have had three wonderful stage managers for our main stage productions this semester.
Last question: what are your dreams?
I really want to create. I want to make art for the sake of touching peoples’ lives. That is something I have discovered here.