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Monday, March 18,2013

MSU student faces the 'Bare' facts about theater

With help from Kickstarter.com, Dennis Corsi launches Touch Your Soul Productions

by Tracy Key

Friday, July 8 — Almost everyone has
looked up to the stars and seen that distant, glittering pie in the sky. However, Michigan State University
senior Dennis Corsi is doing more than dreaming about his goals — he started his own company.


Touch
Your Soul Productions, founded in May, has a clear purpose. “
I want to use theater to affect people
and to make a difference,” Corsi said.


The first project
Corsi is tackling is a musical called “Bare,” which is near and dear to his
heart. “I heard the musical for the first time about three years ago on a CD,
and I fell in love with it right away,” he said. “I said to myself, ‘One day I
want to direct that.’ This musical is what encouraged me and made me want to
start my own production company, and lot of things I believe in and my
philosophy are contained in the show.”


“Bare” focuses on the
stories and struggles of a group of students in their senior year at a Catholic
high school, and their journeys through self-exploration and discovery. It also
addresses homosexuality and the conflicts and social stigmas surrounding it,
such as bullying, family issues and acceptance.


Although Corsi had a
well-defined direction and mindset for his group, there was still one obstacle
he was struggling to overcome: funding. He
explained that since Touch Your Soul Productions is still a fledgling
organization, it does not have an established set of resources and money it can
draw from to begin the first project.


Our biggest challenge has been raising
money, and before we can start a show we need to pay for the rights and
royalties. About $1,300 is needed just to get the scripts for first show,” he
noted.


In
an effort to remedy this problem, Corsi posted his company on Kickstarter.com,
a website that helps raise funds for creative projects. The site supports a
database of profiles, videos and information about numerous projects that are
in need of money, as well as their financial goals and the current amounts the
backers have raised.


Now,
Corsi’s Kickstarter page has a positive message: “This project will be funded
on Sunday, July 10, 11:59 a.m. EDT.”


In
the last week, Corsi explained Touch Your Soul “kicked it into high gear” to
find the rest of the $2,300 target. “We had a wide range of people who
supported us,” Corsi said. “The ones we were most proud of, we had the original
director of ‘Bare’ and one of the original cast members contributing. And,
obviously, we had some friends and family. There was also Spiral Dance Club and
a donation from an organization on campus called the Transforming Theatre
Ensemble.”


Corsi’s involvement
with theater and acting extends back to his days in elementary school. He’s
studying theater and media arts and technology at MSU while pursuing a career in
the world of stagecraft. However, simply participating in the creative process
of theater was not enough for him; he
decided that he wanted to take a more hands-on and involved approach to the
industry.


“I wanted more
influence and power over what shows I would work on, and by creating my own
thing, I could do the shows I wanted,” he explained.


With Touch Your Soul
Productions, Corsi plans to focus on shows and productions that deal with heavy
social issues, such as discrimination, self-discovery, gender and sexual
identities. “Although theater is, in a lot of ways, for entertainment, I also
think it has a really great power to affect the way people think and see the
world, and based on how I choose to direct the shows, I hope to open up
people’s minds and change attitudes and behaviors.”


Casting
for “Bare” has been completed and vocal rehearsals will begin in a few weeks.


Before they were just ideas in my head,
but with casting, I get to see my ideas visualized with actual people singing
the roles,” Corsi said. “It’s a big moment for me because it means that it is
real.”


The tentative dates
for the production are Oct. 6-9, and it will be held in the RCAH theater on the
MSU campus. Corsi plans to make the show free for students, if he can collect
enough funds through other sources.


“We want to also
include other events surrounding the show that provide further discussion and
learning about some of the topics ‘Bare’ focuses on,” he added, although no
specific activities are planned at this time.

More
information about Corsi, “Bare” and Touch Your Soul Productions can be found
online at touchyoursoulproductions.com
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