It is a Saturday evening in TJC’s Jean Browne Theatre, where the aroma of fresh ground coffee, baked goods and the sound of lively conversation greets visitors. As people find their seats, the lights in the auditorium dim and a silhouette appears on stage.
Spotlight now in focus, a girl begins acting a monologue of a woman experiencing deep grief. As it comes to an end, the audience entranced by her performance, some noticeably touched.
Another performer takes the stage, leans back on a stool and reads aloud from a journal filled with original poetry. Thoughts and emotions bled on paper are shared with a captivated audience.
Throughout the night the acts continued. If performers became nervous or missed a note, the crowd would cheer and clap, encouraging them to keep going. Having diverse talent and expression coming together in one setting left the audience anticipating what might come next.
On this night, the Jean Browne Theatre was transformed into The Venue. “The Venue was structured around the concept of beatnik-coffeehouses from the ‘50s and ‘60s,” said David Crawford, vice president of Las Mascaras, TJC’s speech and drama club.
“The Venue not only offers a place to go, but it is also a great way for college-age performers to get on stage to practice their talent,” said Crawford.
It is held from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. several times each semester.
Upcoming dates for
The Venue are: Oct. 2, Oct. 22 and Nov. 12.
The Venue was previously sponsored by Green Acres Baptist Church, and Las Mascaras has recently taken over sponsorship. “Green Acres sought to make a ministry out of it, but they didn’t end up having enough people to run it. They used to finance it, buying refreshments,” said Crawford.
Now, Las Mascaras asks for support from Student Senate. It costs about $40-$50 per event for all refreshments.
Majoring in history and theater, Brittany Elston, third-year student at TJC, has both performed and sat through the event on many occasions.
“It’s a great reason to get out of the house on a Saturday night. It is rare to have such easy access to perform on stage, and on top of that, to feel so supported,” said Elston, whose last appearance at “The Venue” was last spring where she did a parody skit from ‘Twilight.’