Nicholas Schons ’21, Fargo, N.D.
Major: Theatre Art
Tell us about your work with Oak Grove’s production of “Metamorphoses.”
I am serving as the director and scenic designer of the Oak Grove Theatre Arts’ production of “Metamorphoses” by Mary Zimmerman.
Can you give us a brief overview of the show?
“Metamorphoses” is an absolutely stunning play by renowned playwright and director Mary Zimmerman. The play is a collection of vignettes adapted from Ovid’s classic Greek poem “Metamorphoses.” Tales such as Midas, Orpheus, and Eurydice and many others are adapted for a modern audience. The cast is comprised of seven very talented high school actors who play multiple characters throughout the show.
The set design for this show is unique. Can you share how you formed the concept and the process creating it?
The show revolves around the idea of change and transformation, which I tried to completely reflect with the design. I figured the best way to do this would be with water. The show’s design is unique because all of the action happens in and around a massive pool of water. Water has the unique ability to change and take on many different forms, which makes it the perfect vehicle for this show. For instance, the water serves as the ocean, a pool, a forest, a grandiose temple, and many other things. It’s quite tricky to build a pool from scratch and even trickier to do it in a theatrical setting. Not only is it a large pool, but it is more of a hot tub because the water must be kept at a high temperature for actor safety and comfortability. While it has been a challenge, it has been so rewarding knowing that it is the perfect base for the stories to be told in.
How did you become involved with directing a show at Oak Grove?
My work at Oak Grove began my senior year of high school when I served as the assistant director of their production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” The following year, I completed my first fully realized design of “Mary Poppins” that opened in the spring of 2018 at Oak Grove. Oak Grove’s director of theatre, Concordia alumnus Scott Brusven ’05, has had a long-standing working relationship and asked me back once again – this time to serve as scenic designer and director of “Metamorphoses.”
Can you talk about your collaboration with alumnus Scott Brusven?
Scott and I have been working together for 10 years. Time flies when you’re having fun! I began as his student and, in recent years, we have been collaborators on many projects. I have been an actor in many of Scott’s productions, as well as working as a scenic designer, assistant, and director for him throughout the many years we have worked together.
How has your experience with Concordia Theatre prepared you for this opportunity?
Concordia Theatre has completely prepared me to take my craft to Oak Grove, as well as other places. I owe so much of my success to the program. Because of the many classes and hands-on experiences that I have received while at Concordia, I feel educated and motivated to go out into the community to utilize my craft through creating great art!
Is there a specific experience you have had at Concordia that has helped you the most?
Oh my, there are so many to choose from! Two of the biggest experiences that have helped me grow both happened in the theatre. Last year, while playing the emcee in “Cabaret,” a fire was ignited within me to keep pushing further to become the best I can be in all aspects of my life, especially in my pursuit of learning and creating great theatre for all audiences. The second experience occurred recently while I was designing another show, “Crimes of the Heart,” in Concordia’s Lab Theatre. This current experience is teaching me to become a better designer and a more well-rounded person. I am so grateful to the Concordia Theatre program for all they have done and what they have continued to teach me throughout my time as a student.
What are you looking forward to in the coming year, both at Concordia and following graduation?
There is so much to look forward to! Over the next two years, I am mostly looking forward to seeing how much I can learn and how much I can develop my craft under the direction of the amazing faculty at Concordia. As much as I would love to stay with my Cobber family forever, I am really looking forward to designing and directing postgraduation and hopefully going to grad school in the near future. I can guarantee that the motivation and confidence that Concordia has given me will drive me to strive for the best in the years to come!
“Metamorphoses” runs Friday, Oct. 4-Saturday, Oct. 12, at Oak Grove Lutheran School’s Scheels Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online.