On Stage, the Scandal at TKE Fraternity…
UWM Theater Dept’s Milwonky Too! (Sex, Drugs, and D2L) explores the recent, real-life campus drama.
The UW-Milwaukee theater department is putting on six performances of a new production called Milwonky Too! (Sex, Drugs, and D2L), but actually the cast will never perform the same show twice.
How exactly does that work? Milwonky Too! uses a performance style called devised theatre. Director Alvaro Saar Rios came up with a rough outline for the production’s plot, but cast members created individual scenes. Since they rely heavily on improvisation, the dialogue will be slightly different at each show.
“We had to keep it fresh, keep it new, try not to get stuck,” says Emilie Rackovan, a freshman cast member studying theater. “There are certain lines that we want to keep, but we try to change it up every day and keep it fresh.” And “that’s hard,” he adds.
“It’s not just like everything’s happy and good and rainbows,” Rackovan says.
The negative sides of college life include controversial topics that are quite relevant to the campus, including financial aid issues and the recent Tau Kappa Epsilon scandal at UWM. Members of that fraternity are suspected of putting “date rape” drugs into alcoholic beverages during a party at the fraternity house in September. They also reportedly drew red Xs on the hands of “hot girls,” to single them out.
“We were trying to figure out what was going too far,” Rackovan says, “because we don’t want to make people uncomfortable, but at the same time, we want to be real.”
News of the police investigation of TKE broke after rehearsals already started. The cast felt it was important to include in the show.
“We’re not going to make fun of it in a sense. We’re going to be very real about it and let people make their own judgments,” Rackovan says.
“Milwonky Too!” is a pseudo-sequel to last year’s devised theater performance, “Milwonky Style.” Rios first developed the idea during a conversation he had in grad school. He asked someone where he was from, and the response sounded like “Milwonky,” not “Milwaukee.” When he was devising a show about going to college in Milwaukee last year, he thought Milwonky would be a fitting title. With the success of “Milwonky Style,” Rios decided to reprise the basic idea this season.
The cast is fairly diverse, with ages ranging from 18-year-old Rackovan to a 29-year-old junior and some non-theater majors (in urban studies and creative writing). But the group has worked well together, says Rackovan.
“Everyone was so willing to just try things,” she says. “At first, we were a little self-conscious but eventually we’re just like, “let’s just go for it.’ It was really cool to see how creative people are and to work together as a team.”
And Rackovan has loved every minute of it. “I don’t know what I’m going to do when it’s done because I’ve just been having the time of my life,” she says. “It’s my favorite show I’ve ever done.”
Oct. 17- Oct. 19 at Kenilworth Studio 508 on UWM’s campus. General admission is $10 with senior and student discounts available. Tickets available online or by calling 414-229-4308.