The Newman University Theatre Department closed its main season last weekend with the Sunday, March 6, showing of "A Man for All Seasons," by Robert Bolt.
This production was special to cast and crew as it used theatre as a way to connect to Newman University's Catholic heritage and proved successful, touching the hearts of performers, stagehands, faculty and audience members alike.
'A Man for All Seasons' follows the story of the rise and fall of St. Thomas More and how he became a chancellor in England. Dealing with the tyranny of King Henry VIII, the story tells a strong catholic message to stay true to faith, as Thomas More would not worship in the newly established Church of England wherein the King of England was the head. This proved to be More’s downfall, but it is also what made him a Saint.
Senior theatre and education major, as well as a devout Catholic, Mark Carlson portrayed the role of St. Thomas More.
“It was a great experience," he said. "Full of laughter and tears, with an overall message of staying to true to what you believe in.”
Carlson was honored to make this his final Newman University performance.
“I've had a wonderful four years with the Theatre Department,” he said. “They've really helped me stretch myself creatively as an actor by encouraging me to break past perceived limits.”
The show's closing marks the end of some theatre majors' careers at Newman University, but it also marks the beginning for new students.
Sara Crook, a freshman science major who has worked with the technical crew for all three productions this year said, "'A Man for All Seasons' was a great performance. A great group of performers, and I think we had a pretty great tech crew as well."
Amy Emerson, a freshman who portrayed Thomas More’s daughter Margaret, said that 'A Man for All Seasons' was an amazing opportunity that challenged her as an actor.
“I got to work with people who are super talented," she said. "So it was cool being able to work with them and get into character that way. And working with Justin Ralph and Susan Crane outside of rehearsals was amazing because it brought me more into character because I got to learn more about the history. And then we added the costumes, and the makeup, and hair, and all that, and it really just brought it all to life on stage. And I would have not asked to work with a better group of people. It was amazing.”
Emerson and Crook both came to Newman University from Kapaun Mt. Caramel but were not involved in theatre. Crook enjoys getting to know people working the tech side of theatre.
“Doing theatre is a good way to spend time with friends, but also a good way to get service hours and be involved on campus,” she said.
The newest addition the Newman Theatre Department is Jamison Rhoads. Rhoads is the new Technical Director and was happy with the overall production of 'A Man for All Seasons.'
“It was a perfect example of what theatre can be," he said. "At its best, theatre illuminates, educates and entertains.”
This show marked Rhoads’ third production as the Technical Director for Newman University Theatre's main season, but he is ready to get working on future productions. Rhoads said that he feels very welcomed in the university community and enjoys working with the students.
Beyond faculty and staff, audience members also were engaged by the show. Joshua Baalmann, a junior science major and occasional theatre participant, said that he truly enjoyed the show.
"The cast kept a perfect pace," he said, "leaving enough time for the audience to understand the shadowed intrigue while not dragging out the plot."
Baalmann was also familiar with the story of St. Thomas More and enjoyed the theatrical story and portrayal of the Saint.
Telling the story of St. Thomas More was a great way to close the main stage theatre season.