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Monash Uni Student Theatre presents MUST OLYMPICS by Oscar Balla

Chloe Selsick

Weeks 4-6 in Semester 2

By Emma Anvari 

Are you disappointed about the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games? Well, never fear! The Monash Uni Student Theatre (MUST, MSA) has the ultimate competition and immersive experience for you.

You’ve heard of the Ancient Greeks, from their theatrical tragedies to mighty warriors. You’ve heard of Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games. Now, MUST presents to you the perfect collision of both worlds: the inaugural MUST Olympics.

“A new online competition for all theatre enthusiasts to learn to push the limits of the stage.”

The MUST Olympics is set to be a bold, innovative, competitive, theatrical Zoom team-sport extravaganza.  It promises to introduce you to the world of the theatre and everything it takes to create a show, all from the comfort of your bedroom.

The structure of the MUST Olympics will replicate that of the actual Olympic Games themselves, with a MUST Olympic Committee, opening and closing ceremony, judges, as well as regular updates on medal tallies and event commentating. 

Be warned, for only one team will emerge the most theatrical and victorious…

The project is the proud brainchild of Producer Oscar Balla, and was designed to create an interactive way of introducing Semester 2 students to the inner workings of Monash’s student theatre. 

Balla has been involved in notable previous MUST performances as an Actor (‘The Golden Age’), an Assistant Stage Manager (‘Do Not Collect $200’), as well as a Writer and Director (CabFest: ‘Petrol Love’).

Balla says the MUST community is special and responsible for the positive university experience of a broad range of Monash students. 

“The premise of the MUST Olympics is to expose new students to different theatrical roles that are required to make a piece of theatre… This is done by having different Olympic-type events that test the different skills required within these specialised theatre-making roles,” he said.

“There will be some education provided for each event, and hopefully this competition will help people find new passions within theatre-making so they will come back to MUST in the future.”

According to presentation director Gregor Campbell, the Olympics will be unlike any MUST project ever seen before, with its entirely online platform, open-to-all philosophy, and transformation of the audience into participants.

“Participants can expect an experience like no other: the experience of being an Olympic athlete and the experience of being part of the best community on campus, MUST, all rolled into one,” he said.

“For the first time, an audience composed of theatre kids will be asked to attempt activities vaguely resembling sports, which I’m sure will be worth a watch at the very least.

I’m most looking forward to seeing both new and old faces enjoying the experience the team is developing for them because I can promise it’ll be a unique experience that will keep people entertained and engaged in this difficult period.”

When asked how he would describe his exciting new undertaking, Oscar said the Olympics were a combination of theatre sport, immersive theatre and a workshop rolled into one.

“I find theatre sports to be really focussed on acting and don’t really include things like sound design,” he said.

“[In the Olympics] the theatre sports will transfer the focus from acting skills, with the exception of the acting event, to theatre skills such as directing, writing or marketing.”

The MUST Olympics team have already faced many challenges, namely adapting to the current circumstances surrounding Victoria’s handling of COVID-19.

The Olympics team said the original plan was to have all of the events completed over the course of one full day of face-to-face competition, but now the events are to take place across Wednesday and Saturday nights for three weeks via the online platform Zoom.

“Overcoming a global pandemic to deliver live experiences and entertainment seems like a massive hurdle and it’s definitely one for the resume, but with stress, hard work and a little bit of Zoom magic I’m sure the outcome will still be fantastic,” Campbell said. 

“We’ve had to rethink the content of the events because we’ve been restricted by the nature of the online platform in what we can do,” Balla added.

“But the intention to focus on teamwork, education and fun has not changed.”

Although an interactive workshop-esque project, participants can still expect to witness performances by actors throughout the competition.

What are you waiting for? 

Check out the Monash Uni Student Theatre Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/musttheatre/ to stay in the loop and for details on how to sign up. You’ll have a blast and you never know, you may find a new and exciting passion along the way. 

May the odds be ever in your favour. See you at the opening ceremony.

Artwork by Chloe Selsick

Monash Uni Student Theatre presents

THE MUST OLYMPICS by Oscar Balla

Created by Oscar Balla and Lucas Rindt

Wednesday and Saturday Evenings (Weeks 4-6 of Semester 2)

Free Participation via Zoom

Sign up via: msa.monash.edu/must | Enquiries via MUST: 9905 8173 | @musttheatre

 

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