TASO not just a club, but a way of life

Lincoln Hall 115
May 4-5, 9-12
8 p.m.
May 6
6 p.m.
$3 suggested donation

Why should you join the Theater Arts Student Organization? Because it is not just an organization; it’s a culture. This group, TASO for short, is intended for people who have the slightest interest in the theater.

“Anybody’s welcome to come and join TASO,” said Megan Sage, a member of the group. “It’s a great opportunity for students to get experience in theater, and if they’re not interested in being on stage, there’s tons of other stuff to do.”

TASO produced seven plays this year, and is about to put on an eighth. These shows are completely student-run, from the costumes to the sets to the acting and the directing.

The TASO shows range in difficulty, organization and style. Some of the year’s productions included a concert version of the musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” the comedic “Lend Me a Tenor” and the creatively-unorganized “Improv-A-Go-Go” and “A Sh*t Load of Funny Chicks, A Couple of Penises Thrown in for Sport, and Bill.”

Members of TASO generally agree that their productions are more suited for the general student population than the mainstage shows, claiming to “kick their butt.”

Sage said that TASO doesn’t just perform together, they like to take trips and hang out. They were supposed to go on a trip to Ashland during spring break, but couldn’t because of finances. The group hopes to travel next year.

“People at PSU just don’t realize how easy we are to socialize with,” said Valory Lawrence, one of the club’s members. In addition to having a great time with her cohorts, Lawrence has gained real-world theater experience by producing a TASO show (“A Sh*t Load of Funny Chicks, A Couple of Penises Thrown in for Sport, and Bill” to be exact).

TASO is all about combining the seriousness of these people’s passions for theater with their need for fun.

TASO members can usually be found joking around and talking with each other in between Lincoln and Cramer, or in Lincoln Hall 115. If you’re walking by and you hear uproarious laughter, it’s the TASO pals.

The next collective venture from the organization is the three-woman play “Vanities” by Jack Heifner. This show tells the story of three young ladies coming of age during the tumultuous ’60s and early ’70s. Through national milestones such as the Kennedy assassination and the Watergate scandal, the play details the evolution of a nation through these women.

While the subject matter may seem emotionally-charged and dramatic, TASO assures that it’s a comedy. The characters Kathy, Mary and Joann are all hilariously stereotypical cheerleader characters.

“Vanities” is competing with a mainstage show for an audience. The PSU Opera Theater’s production of “The Magic Flute” runs during almost every performance of “Vanities.”

“We didn’t plan it that way, but I really wish we hadn’t done it that way,” Sage said. “The opera draws a lot of people, but it’s gonna be kinda crazy.” “Vanities” runs May 4-6 and 9-12. “The Magic Flute” runs May 4, 5, 8, 11-12. That leaves a few days where the larger production doesn’t overshadow the TASO play. On May 6, “Vanities” starts at 6 p.m. On the other nights, the performances all start at 8 p.m. There is a suggested $3 donation for admission, which goes toward TASO events and future productions.

“Vanities” marks the eighth and final show of the TASO season. With eight shows this year, it’s obvious how many opportunities the group offers. Despite its 60+ membership, TASO has an “everyone included” policy, where interested students can pretty much do whatever they want in the theatrical process.

In a previous interview, Lawrence said, “Anyone who walks in the building [Lincoln Hall] is technically a member of TASO. But if we’re lucky enough to snag you, you’re involved.”

Wanna get snagged? If you’re thinking, “Wow! I gotta join TASO,” it’s your lucky day. The organization is having their monthly meeting tonight at 5 p.m. in the theater student lounge, Lincoln Hall room 115.

The meeting’s agenda includes the announcement of the summer season, accepting nominations for next year’s council and talking about “Vanities.” You could even join as a first-time member tonight if you wanted to.