Black Box is intimate alternative

Riley Gilmond, left, and Ariel Wade, right, perform in “Proof” in the Black Box Theater.

Most, if not all Castleton students are aware of Casella Theatre and all that it has to offer. But many don’t know that Casella isn’t the only theatre on campus.

The Black Box is a small, unique venue in the Fine Arts Center that gives students a chance to showcase their own first productions.

Back in mid-October, it was Thomas Tifft’s first shot as director with the small play “Proof.”

“It was pretty surreal taking the directing class, and that inspired me to direct more. I learned a lot about acting through directing because I had to focus on all four characters in the show rather than just one. I enjoyed applying what I learned in class to my director experience,” Tifft said.

For Tifft, it’s about taking something small and making it into something big.

“As a director, I had to take a script and make that story come to life. It’s not just my project; it also belongs to the actors and technicians behind the scenes,” Tifft said.

Cydney Krone, who played one of the lead roles in “Proof,” was very pleased with her experience working with Tifft at the Black Box.

“Working with a student director was definitely different because they have a lot less experience directing.  Overall, Thomas did a great job,” Krone said.

“Performing in the Black Box was a more intimate experience for me. You can’t fake any facial expressions or movements since you’re so up close. You can see everyone,” Krone said with a chuckle.

Wade, left, and Cydney Krone, right, perform in another scene from “Proof.”

Fellow lead actor Peter Roy also was happy to get a different side of acting from his experience with the small production and was impressed by Tifft’s professionalism.

“If I hadn’t known this was Thomas’ first production, I wouldn’t have been able to guess. He had an air of confidence about the production, even during times when we, the actors, didn’t,” Roy said.

When asked if he’d work with Tifft again he replied, “I would in a heartbeat.”

Many acting students are known for their performances on the big stage in Casella but the Black Box brings the most memorable moments for student actors.

“The Black Box allows the audience to experience subtleties in a performance. I think I enjoy acting at the Black Box more than the main stage,” Roy said.

Tifft is blessed for what the Black Box has to offer and encourages others to make use of it.

“What’s nice about the Black Box is it’s a safe place to mess up. I put in a proposal and was granted the opportunity to do this showing. There are two slots a semester for shows at the Black Box. It’s the place to start,” Tifft said.

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