MU theatre society

Sophomore Gracianne Nohl Writes, Produces Play ‘The Closing Shift’

Tristen Bronaugh

Sophomore Graci Nohl finds herself excited to present her play “The Closing Shift” as she gets ready for her directorial debut on Nov. 18 and 19 in Cordier Auditorium.

Nohl, from Plymouth, Wisconsin, has brought her love for creative writing to Manchester University as she wrote and also directs the Theatre Society’s fall play. “It’s an honor to have my play produced by Manchester,” Nohl says. “I’m so thankful for Theatre Society because they offer many opportunities for students to write, direct, and act.”

This is Nohl’s first time writing and directing a play. What made this challenging? “It’s a lot of work, I didn’t realize how much work really goes into it,” she said. “You have to figure out rehearsal schedules, plan auditions, make flyers, design set, costumes, and a bunch more.”

Nohl drew inspiration from previous Theatre Society director Andy Vance. “I always admired her leadership skills and creativity. If she was ever faced with a problem she would preserve and find a creative solution,” said Nohl. Previous stage experience has also helped Nohl with the direction of the play.

Nohl is an involved student at Manchester University. She has two campus jobs, is a member of the Theatre Society e-board, an RA, as well as a full-time student. So how does Nohl manage her time? With the help of others. “Erin Farmwald is my assistant director and she has helped with rehearsal schedules and running rehearsal when I have work or am on duty,” she says.

Nohl doesn’t feel overwhelmed with her involvement at Manchester because is passionate about everything she does, this keeps her motivated. “After a busy day I love coming to rehearsal and working with the cast; it’s the highlight of my day,” she said.

Nohl loves running rehearsals and seeing the actors challenging their comfort zone to get into character. “It’s very rewarding to be able to work with other students on a project we are all passionate about,” she says.

Something very important to Nohl during the production of her play is the relationship among the cast. Going into production Nohl was honest and said that she had nerves going in. she didn’t know how the cast would feel about a new director.

Those feelings of uncertainty are now long gone, as Nohl has created great team chemistry with the cast. “My relationship with the cast is unique to the situation,” she says. “I am the same age or even younger than some of my cast members but they still respect me and my creative decisions.”

With production time slowly winding down, Nohl’s play is almost ready. “The Closing Shift” is the story of two girls navigating the stress of working in fast food, plans after high school, and the murder of their coworker,” said Nohl smiling.

What inspired Nohl to create this story? “When I was in high school I worked in fast food and it was terrible. I used a lot of my own personal experiences to create interactions between the characters,” she said.

Nohl’s goal for the audience is that they will enjoy the ride on the emotional rollercoaster it creates while also being able to connect with the real-life struggle of being in high school and working a job you hate.

“The Closing Shift” will be performed Nov. 18 and 19 at Cordier Auditorium. Admission is free; check the Campus Calendar for times.