What is BITE? The acronym stands for Beloit Independent Theater Experience, which was born out of a student project for the Theatre, Dance, and Media Studies class Devising New Works in October of last year. The students who founded the group wanted to create a resource for students who wanted additional productions beyond the four put on each year by the department. BITE has been an official club for nearly a year.
“BITE’s mission is to bring student theater to campus,” says BITE President Miranda James’15. “How we define that is by letting students bring proposals to the executive board, which then decides whether we should fund a project or not.”
Last year BITE put on its first full-length play, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, a 12-hour show, and several student-written and student-directed one-act shows. This year, they put on a Fringe Festival showcasing underground theater, which included the Salem Witch Trial reenactments on Chapin Quad, Shakespeare Up in Here, and the Noise Opera.
Simone Stadler’13, a member of the executive board and co-director of BITE’s upcoming production, Popcorn, was surprised that there wasn’t a student theater group on campus when she arrived as a freshman. Once BITE got its feet off the ground, the number of people involved grew exponentially. “It created this really great community that drew a lot of people in,” says Stadler.
BITE’s second full-length production and final show of the semester will be Popcorn, co-directed by Stadler and Emily Wells’13. In the sensational style of Pulp Fiction, the play revolves around a successful Hollywood director whose violent, provocative film has just been nominated for an Oscar. Simultaneously, two serial killers are on the run whose crimes are strikingly similar to those of the characters in the film. Are the serial killers copycat murderers? And if so, is the director responsible for the brutal killings? It all becomes clear when the three characters converge and drama, comedy, and chaos ensue.
The cast of Popcorn includes students of all ages and levels of experience. BITE has pooled their resources and connections in the campus community to make this a vibrant, multimedia production in the vein of Old Hollywood cinema.
The show runs Thursday (Nov. 29) through Sunday (Dec. 2) at 8 p.m. in Moore Lounge; admission is free.