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Rudy Roggenkamp Jr.
Rudy Roggenkamp Jr.

Rudy Roggenkamp Jr.

Professor of Theatre

I think the hands-on nature of much of our work and the close relationships that students can have with the faculty are part of what makes Mount Union unique.

Education

M.F.A., Virginia Commonwealth University
B.A., Heidelberg College

Passion for Theatre

I chose theatre because I love the excitement of live theatre and the fact that it is constantly changing. Theatre is an exciting, complex, and collaborative process. Comprised of the work of a number of dedicated passionate people (playwrights, producers, directors, designers, actors, and technicians), encompassing theatrical traditions, and drawing from old and new scripts, theatre culminates in a live performance in front of a live audience, both in the same place at the same time. Why wouldn’t anyone want to participate? 

In the Classroom

I understand that there are many different learning styles, so I try to vary the classes to include lectures, individual work, presentations, and as many hands-on experiences as I can. My favorite part of the job is working with the students on theatre productions and getting to be there when “the light bulb goes on”. 

Theatre at Mount Union

In the Department of Theatre, all of our students participate in hands-on experiential learning. In a program like we have here at Mount Union the students have lots of opportunities to participate in the production process. They act in plays and musicals, they build the scenery and hang the lights, they stage manage productions, etc. I think the hands-on nature of much of our work and the close relationships that students can have with the faculty are part of what makes Mount Union unique.

Benefits of Liberal Arts

I think that the liberal arts are an important part of everyone’s education. We do many different things in life and we need to have an understanding of how the whole world works. I think this is particularly true for those of us in theatre. We need to understand the historical roots of theatre and of the individual plays we produce. We need to be able to look at the scripts as literature as well as a blueprint for our production. In acting and directing we need to understand the psychological and sociological motivations of the characters in the play. In scene design/tech direction we need to understand the engineering of the structures we are designing and building. In lighting we need to understand the neuroscience of perception, the physics of lighting and color, and a good deal of electrical theory. Plus, we all have to learn to work within the budgets of time, talent, and money that we have to make sure we can produce successful shows. All of this can be enhanced by having a well-rounded background in many different fields of study.

Community Involvement

I am a member of the United States Institute of Theatre Technology. I have also served on the board for The Alliance Area Habitat for Humanity.