The ETSU Department of Theatre and Dance is gearing up for their upcoming season this semester, which will consist of two stage plays.

They are currently in the midst of the planning phase for both productions, including casting and set and costume design.

The first production to come, “Stop Kiss,” will be performed in Studio 205 Campus Center Building on Oct. 2 at 2 p.m. and Oct. 3-7 at 7:30 p.m.

Next, “Othello” is set to be performed in the Bud Frank Theatre Nov. 16-19 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 20 at 2 p.m.

“We chose these plays last spring after much conversation in ETSU Theatre and Dance meetings — discussing what is good for our students and audiences, whether the productions are feasible from a budgetary standpoint, and if our facilities and staffing can realistically accommodate the needs of the shows,” said Karen Brewster, program director for ETSU Theatre and Dance. “There are a lot of things to consider when choosing the plays for our season, and we try to strike the right balance with our choices.”

“Stop Kiss” tells the story of Sara and Callie, who share their first kiss while walking along the streets of New York City late at night before being violently assaulted by a stranger.

Sara falls into a coma, and Callie must struggle to nurse her back to health. Written by Diana Son, “Stop Kiss” is being directed by graduate student Opal Clark (whose work on the play will act as a component of her thesis).

Delbert Hall is in charge of scenic design for “Stop Kiss,” while Melissa Shafer oversees lighting design and Karen Brewster — assisted by undergraduate Dustin Lawson — designs costumes.

Furthermore, “The Tragedy of Othello, The Moor of Venice” — more commonly known as “Othello” — is a seventeenth century classic by William Shakespeare.

The play’s crew includes Herb Parker as director, undergraduate Brandon Jones on scenic design, Melissa Shafer on lighting and Karen Brewster on costume design.

According to Herb Parker, the goal for the production is to provide students with as wide a theatrical performing experience as possible, and producing classics such as the works of Shakespeare is one of the best ways to accomplish that.

“I am a big fan of the work of William Shakespeare,” Parker said. “He gives the actor wonderful characters to play and words to say, as well as the opportunity for our design staff and students to experience period clothing, props and set design.”

As part of the beginning stages of preparing for these productions, crew members have several challenges and obstacles to overcome. The first round of casting auditions took place on Aug. 24, and callbacks were held on Friday, Aug. 26. The official cast will be announced on Tuesday, Aug. 30.

“You want to get scripts to actors as soon as possible so that they can begin the arduous task of memorizing their lines,” Parker said. “With Shakespeare this is probably one of the biggest challenges because of course some of the vernacular and slang terms and cultural allusions are not our own; they are 400 years old. That’s a challenge.”

Tickets for both of these productions are available for purchase online at $5 for students, faculty and staff.

Attendance will not only allow one to witness the outcome of all the hard work from the teams of students and faculty, but it will also insure an evening of entertainment and amazement.

“All in all, things are looking good for ETSU Theatre and Dance,” Brewster said.