NIU School of Theatre and Dance starts the semester off strong with “Hit the Wall”


Abigail Lamoreaux

“Hit the Wall” is a play written by playwright Ike Holter (Abigail Lamoreaux | Northern Star)

DeKALB — The NIU School of Theatre and Dance has a variety of productions set for this spring semester that vary in both genre and message. While some performances have already happened, there is still much to look forward to.

“Hit the Wall” was the first play to start off the spring semester with performances from Feb. 4 through 6.

“It (“Hit the Wall”) was definitely the most impactful show I’ve seen I think ever, honestly,” said Madigan Balfe after attending a performance of “Hit the Wall.” Balfe is a first-year student in the BFA acting program. “It just, it hit me so hard in the moments of the climax of the show, and it was just, it was fantastic. It was amazing. All the acting was incredible, the direction was amazing.”

It is not too late to see “Hit the Wall” as there are upcoming performances of the play set for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday as well as 2 p.m. on Saturday in the Sally Stevens Players Theatre, located in the Stevens Building.

“The play itself is about the Stonewall riots, obviously something very pivotal and important in LGBTQ+ history so just working on a piece that has that kind of relevance and importance to me has just been wonderful,” said Jonathan Allsop, a third-year MFA acting major. Allsop is playing the role of Carson in “Hit the Wall.” 

A lot of the characters in “Hit the Wall” are inspired by real-life activists and the riots are often referred to as the beginning of the Gay Rights Movement, said Tomas Dakan, a third-year MFA acting major. Dakan plays Tano in “Hit the Wall.”

“I am a queer Black man and the playwright is also a queer Black man from the Chicago area actually, and his (Ike Holter’s) writing is so specific and unique and it’s just been rewarding to work on a character that feels closer to home,” Allsop said.

Other productions to look out for from the theater department this semester include “RUR,” “The Conference of the Birds” and “The Language Archive.”

Emma Mansfield is a sophomore BFA acting major who is playing the role of Mary in the upcoming production of “The Language Archive.”

“The Language Archive is about George, a linguist, trying to record languages that are dying out; I play his wife Mary who is leaving him throughout the show,” Mansfield said.

Those who attend “The Language Archive” can expect an incredibly funny yet heartfelt and upbeat show, Mansfield said.

Students at NIU should take advantage of the opportunity to see some of the productions put on by the School of Theatre and Dance, especially because it is free for them to attend. As a student, all you have to do is reserve your tickets beforehand.

“In contrast to the season in the fall, (this season) revolves around more contemporary playwrights who are people of color and I think it’s really refreshing to see other playwrights get the spotlight and get their work highlighted,” said Victor Jaimes, the stage manager for “Hit the Wall” and recent NIU graduate.

Check here for a full list of the productions for the 2021-2022 season from the NIU School of Theatre and Dance. 

“It’s not only just entertainment,” Allsop said. “You’re taking away something else. Especially in theater, there’s such a strong purpose in why something was written and why we are putting it on and the time and the effort that goes into it.”