Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

If It Ain’t Original, Scratch That

    Scratch Producers
    Matthew Gilbertson • The Spectator

    This quarter, the producers of Scratch, Seattle University’s student-produced arts showcase, are emphasizing something new: original work.

    Why original work?
    “There’s a possibility for something more,” said producer and sophomore theater major Marshall Lewis. “We’ve seen that things like covers…are predominant, and we encourage people to step outside their boundaries.”
    “We want everyone to feel welcome to Scratch,” said Lewis’ co-producer Rachel Liuzzi. “I know there’s so much talent and work out there and it’s so within reach.”

    Some, however, worry that this new approach may exclude those who wish to participate in Scratch. Twenty of the 30 applicants will be able to perform at Scratch this fall.
    “I think there is a bit of exclusion that surrounds this…but by no means are we trying to exclude groups,” Liuzzi said. “We just want to emphasize the fact that there is original work that is being created.”

    Rather than exclude, the theatre program hopes that this new approach will welcome students who are less involved in the arts.
    “There’s that one person who just loves to write their own songs, but they feel like there isn’t a place for them to do it… We’re hoping that [Scratch will] bring those unspoken artists in,” Liuzzi said.

    Although Scratch is still two weeks away, it looks like that hope could become a reality at this fall’s showcase. Lewis and Liuzzi received a much higher number of applications than was initially anticipated.

    Senior Rachel Whitcomb, one of this quarter’s applicants, has sung or danced in all but two Scratch showcases since her freshman year at Seattle U. To Whitcomb, it is clear that Scratch is much bigger now than it used to be.
    “It’s one of those classic, ‘you know to attend this’ Seattle U events… Scratch has given me a way to perform more frequently, which I’m incredibly thankful for,” said Whitcomb.

    Whitcomb thinks that covers often make the show too long.
    “Since it is so popular, it can be extremely long and I’m all about the ‘original work only’ filter to make it a reasonably-lengthed show,” Whitcomb said.

    One thing that is celebrated at Scratch is dance. Because Seattle U does not have a dance program, audiences are eager to see what dancers have to offer. This quarter, the show will host several original dance numbers, one of which is Whitcomb’s.
    “[Scratch is] a way I can dance again and going to a school with no dance program makes that problem all the more important to be able to address,” Whitcomb said.

    Producers and performers alike are eager to watch their fellow artist’s original performances.
    “I can’t wait to see what everyone brings to the table,” Whitcomb said. “It’s easy to impress an audience with covers of the top 40…but there’s something really special and uncelebrated about a person’s ability to write 100 percent of what they are performing.”
    “I have hopes of [experiencing] original artwork that interests me and blows me away,” Lewis said.

    Although encouraging students to share original work is important to this quarter’s producers, encouraging students to share art in general is key.
    “I think it’s important that Scratch remain a place where performance art of all types is able to be cultivated and fostered and appreciated,” Liuzzi said. “I hope [this Scratch] keeps students not only entertained and captivated but also [asking], ‘what is this?’ or ‘what does it mean?’ or ‘why do we like to perform?’”

    Rosa Joshi, associate chair of the theater program, is pleased to see that this quarter’s producers are looking at Scratch in a new light.
    “I’m impressed… Original work challenges students to have a voice,” said Joshi. “I think [the choice is] really exciting, brave and ambitious and is exactly what the theatre program should be supporting.”

    As for the performances, Joshi is excited to find out just how unusual Seattle U artists can get.
    “I hope we see some really weird stuff . . . some strange, beautiful, and risky stuff on stage.”

    Scratch is on Tuesday, November 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the Lee Center for the Arts.

    The editor may be reached at [email protected]

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