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Theatre student Alec Ring rehearses for a show, Effective Magic, on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020.

'Effective Magic' to be performed in Putnam Hall

Effective Magic will be performed in Putnam Hall room 227 Feb. 27, 29 and March 3, 6 at 8 p.m.

The show follows four teenagers from a small town in Texas who decide to form a coven, but their only spellbook is Stephen Covey's “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.”  

The show is part of the MFA Realism Project for first-year MFA students studying directing. Director Roberto Di Donato is a first-year MFA directing student and is originally from Texas himself.

“The audience gets to watch them try and cast spells using this book to improve their lives,” Di Donato said. “It's fun to watch these young characters go through difficult times in their life. Especially because they get to make fun of each other and they do it in a light-hearted way.”

The show is performed with an entirely undergraduate cast, a rarity for the Ohio University school of theatre, Di Donato said.

“It's great because this is one of the few times that OU has done an entirely undergraduate cast,” Di Donato said. “Because these characters are young, I made a decision not to use any graduate students as the performers. And it's great watching the undergrads because they get to implement what they're learning in class, but they get to do it in a professional setting. I get to watch them grow as young professionals who are training. But also they're doing an amazing job.”

The set was made with the knowledge of the show being in rep with the other MFA director show Perfect Arrangement. For a show to be “in rep” means it is a form of repertory theatre when multiple shows use the same space in the same period of time.

“Whatever we design for either show has to disappear, then the other show can move in and build whatever they build,” Di Donato said. “That goes on and off for two weeks.”

An example of this is when Di Donato’s show must move in after Perfect Arrangement moves out after their afternoon show on Feb. 29.

“I think one of the biggest challenges is that it is in rep because we do have to keep in mind that there's another show in the day after or this the same day as us so we, without giving away some mini spoilers, there's magical elements in my shows that take a lot of cleaning up,” Di Donato said. “We have to accomplish (what) the script requires, but also not waste other people's time, because we do have to share the space.”

Di Donato has a personal connection with the show, as he was part of the workshop that developed the production in 2015 with writer Kirk Lynn.

“I have a special kinship to this script,” Di Donato said.

Many students around campus are very interested in the show.

“I would see that show it sounds very interesting. I know a few people from Texas.” Nick Lacata, a sophomore studying studio arts, said. “The…book is very current and relatable. I feel like everybody needs some self-help.”

Di Donato feels that the show is relatable for many types of audience members.

“This is one of those scripts…that no matter who you are, whether or not you like it, whether or not you understand it, the script is one of those scripts you can identify with,” Di Donato said.


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