‘Fierce’ provides outlet for multitalented performers

By Chase Myers, @chasemyers_DE

In college, there tends to be few opportunities for students to perform on stage if they are not pursuing a career in theater.

Fierce, a Registered Student Organization in the Department of Theater, is comprised of students with a variety of majors.

The RSO was formed last spring by a group of theater students who wanted to become involved in more performances throughout the year, the organization’s president C.J. Bathiany said.


Some musical theater majors only have one performance a year, so Fierce allows for more chances to get on stage, said Bathiany, a sophomore from Fort Thomas, Ky., studying musical theater.

“We try to do workshops and master classes just so people are learning, but also getting the opportunity to perform,” he said.

He said this is the first year they have been able to perform in the spring, something they plan on doing annually.

Fierce recently finished its spring performance of Godspell, a show featuring different parables from the Book of Matthew in the Bible, starring Nicholas Wittke as the lead role of Jesus Christ.

Wittke, a junior from Lake Villa studying biological sciences, said he balances his workload and still finds time to artistically express himself through the RSO.

“It is slightly time consuming, but I feel like it’s one of those things where if you want to be doing something like this, you have to put the work and effort into it,” Wittke said.

Even though he is not planning on performing as a career, he said he did various community shows growing up, and Fierce has been a good outlet for those passions.


“It… is a great learning experience because I know that these people are going into this field, so it was like trial and error, seeing what works and what wouldn’t work,” he said.

Godspell was Wittke’s first lead role in a performance.

“[Fierce] allows anybody who isn’t really focusing on that career field to get a chance to go on the stage and perform their heart out,” he said.

Apart from allowing non-theater majors the opportunity, Fierce is also special because it consists entirely of student performers, choreographers and directors.

“It’s pretty refreshing because we are all at an equal level, so not even the director is put on a higher pedestal, as you get with a more professional or even academic setting,” said the organization’s vice president Chris Ceradsky, a junior from Columbia studying musical theater.

Having a completely student-run organization allows performers to bounce creativity off one another freely, he said.

“It gives us another outlet to put forth our ideas that we might not be able to do in class projects and it’s uninhibited by any grade or requirement,” he said. “It’s what we want to do and how we want to do it.”

The only major obstacle the RSO has encountered is funding.

Bathiany said Fierce does not receive much financial help from the theater department, however, they have raised as much as $1,500 from online fundraisers for their Godspell production.

The RSO is gaining popularity as its name continues to grow and hopes to gain more participation and funding in the future, Bethiany said.