by Ellen Rossow

Whether the decision is between discipline and freedom, chastity and sex, chocolate or kale or studying and partying, choices make up a great part of the human experience.

In “The Bacchae,” new King Pentheus finds himself in conflict with, not only Dionysis (the new guy in town who’s creating sexual chaos by claiming to be a God), but also himself as he tries to decide between ruling with an iron fist or succumbing to his sensual side.

This classic Greek tragedy has been adapted for the MSUM stage as The [SCREAM].

Students from departments campus-wide have played a great role in the production of this adaptation, which debuts tonight.

Writer and actor Michael Johnson has been working on the show for more than a year, playing a large role in not only the adaptation of the piece, but also getting the ball rolling to get the show on stage.

Once the show was cleared to be a part of MSUM’s theatrical season, Johnson and others reached out to students of other departments to help create a one-of-a-kind production.

Music industry majors Dominic Paczkowski, Dylan Boehmer, Andrew Nelson and Joel Kingsley were approached to, not only play in the show, but compose all of the music for it. The group, generally known as the cover band “Downtown Sound”  had never done anything of this nature before, but ended up composing nearly 15 pieces for the production. 

Graphic design and film production students were approached as well to create animations for projection during the show. According to senior Briana Schepper, her teammates (Benjamin Buchanan, Michie Xiong and Emily Alexander) and herself put in more than 30 hours to create the effects.

“There were three types of animations the team was looking for initially. When I got invited to join, Michie was already starting on the floating particles animation that represented the cosmos. The other two they were looking for was for the provided image of the tree to grow and for the tree to transition into a column.”

The show features these unique animations via projections on screens in the background of the show.

On top of acting from familiar MSUM talent, the production also features intricate lighting, costume and set design as well as creative movement, dance and acrobatics.

While the show doesn’t officially open until tomorrow, there is a free performance tonight at 7:30 p.m. on the Gaede Stage as a part of the Student Academic Conference.

For more information about ticket prices for other performances of the show, visit the box office website at

According to Johnson, The [SCREAM] is predicted to be an unparalleled production on an MSUM stage.

“It’s an amazing show,” he said. “It’s a show people need to come see.”

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