I have not written one sentence and I am already biting my tongue.
These Your World Today columns are not meant to be cruel, but I am grasping for any positive comments on the piece of media I am about to tear into. I apologize to any of those involved who may be reading this, but I must say it.
The Shippensburg University Acting Group’s production of “The Three Musketeers” was the most compelling argument I have ever seen for why the arts desperately need more funding. I have seen over 100 pieces of theater in my life, and this was unequivocally the worst.
From extended transitions between scenes to extreme sound issues, I grew more and more tense as the three-hour production dragged on. Microphone wires dangled aimlessly from the cast, attempted jokes did not land and the audience seemed to mainly stifle their laughter at the misfortunes of the show.
By the end of Act One, my emotions had surpassed secondhand embarrassment and I was in a full state of anxiety. As an avid theatergoer, I have only ever left a performance at intermission once, and I have never done so when seeing a production with others. I should have left early.
I struggle to understand how this production was decided as the best choice for the Shippensburg University community. “The Three Musketeers” was written by Alexander Dumas in 1844 and tells the story of d’Artagnan, a young man who travels to Paris with hopes of joining the Musketeers of the Guard, a military division under the control of the King of France.
It was far too long and difficult to follow or invest in. When catering to a student body that is less and less willing to show up to large campus events, one of the first decisions that should be made is what type of production students would be interested in. French history just is not it.
I believe that not all but some of the issues with this production could have been resolved with more adequate resources and funding. Considering the Act V theater group that existed not that many years ago and produced full productions like “Mamma Mia,” it is not impossible for quality theater to exist on our campus beyond the Luhrs Performing Arts Center.
SU loves to uphold the marching band as the centerpiece of school spirit, but they are not the only division of the arts present on campus. We love the SUMB, but the arts are multifaceted and there are more ways in which it could be represented across campus. We have Rocky Horror and different dance troupes that perform throughout the year, but there should be a more permanent outlet. Theater classes have not returned since the pandemic, but that does not mean the art form itself should suffer.
Theatre is a critical piece to functioning societies, and it should be respected more on our campus.