Theatre students present at Pioneer Creative Activities and Research Day

University of Wisconsin-Platteville students showcased their senior design projects, research and scholarly activity at the second annual Pioneer Creative Activities and Research Day. It took place on April 24 in Velzy Commons, Ullsvik Hall.

The event featured two poster sessions, with the first one highlighting projects funded by the Student Research and Engagement Fund through engagement grants and senior design projects from the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science. The second session focused on scholarly and creative activities from across campus.

One hundred and seventy-one projects were shown throughout the day from a variety of disciplines. Theatre majors Sam Klaas and Blair Schuler discussed their research with the UW-Platteville production of “Fool for Love” by Sam Shepard.

“We tend to hide ourselves in the Center of the Arts, but we do a lot of work that means a lot and has a lot of research involved,” said Klaas, a senior and Lancaster, Wisconsin, native. “It shows research isn’t necessarily just white lab coat scientists or doing graphs; it has a lot more meaning in other ways.”

Klaas, the production’s scenic designer, said, “I was in charge of creating the world of the play. First I would go over the play and look at more underlying themes, forms of symbolism, textual analysis of the play and then move to a general analysis of the play.”

Klaas studied the author and how the play was produced. “I had to figure out how these characters interact with the space around them, what the space looks like,” he said. “I would do sketches and research in terms of images of what I’m piecing together of different aspects of different areas and connecting those to the themes that I found in the play.”

Schuler, a junior from Hazel Green, Wisconsin, was the costume designer, where she created time-period fashion. “I researched the practical clothing of the area that we were in; the play was set in the Mojave Desert,” she said. “Looking at what people wear in that area, even in the middle of the summer when it’s really hot and dry, and combining that with my 1990s research.”

For both students, their research projects have led them to new opportunities. Klaas who’s graduating in May will pursue his graduate degree in scenic design at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Schuler will leave for Michigan after finals to work in costume construction for three months.

“We can all do this because of the work our professors have put into us and telling us how to do these things, so we can go off on our own and be successful,” said Schuler.